Europe makes progress on health exclusion in TTIP, but doubts remain on investment clause
9th July 2015
The result of a vote held in the European Parliament yesterday to outline its first position on the EU-US Trade agreement currently in negotiation has resulted in better protection of health services. The vote calls for a broad exclusion for the NHS and health services, though without excluding the controversial Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) Clause.
Benenden joins its trade association AIM, the International Association of Mutuality, to welcome the exclusion of healthcare services and healthcare in yesterday's vote in the European Parliament. This confirms the need to protect healthcare in the negotiations on the trade agreement known as TTIP (Transatlantic Trade Investment Partnership). TTIP has been widely held up as a threat for healthcare and it is hoped that yesterday's vote will be a call for the European Commission to better protect healthcare and the NHS in the agreement.
But whilst MEPs have been clear on healthcare, they have failed to exclude the controversial clause called the Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) which could limit states’ right to regulate, including in the healthcare sector – a threat that has occurred before in agreements containing this type of clause.
Lawrence Christensen, Group Marketing Director declared: “This vote is a step in the right direction, but does not go far enough on ISDS. At Benenden, we have engaged at an early stage with European institutions to encourage protection of our healthcare system and our NHS from the potential negative effects of TTIP. It is encouraging to see that the message has been listened to in the European Parliament, but more still needs to be done on the ISDS mechanism. With yesterday's vote not excluding ISDS, there was a missed opportunity to fully protect Benenden members and patients all over the United Kingdom.”
Benenden joins European mutuals in calling the European Commission to consider both the protection of health services and the NHS as well as the exclusion of the ISDS mechanism, in order to protect member states’ power to regulate in the trade agreement.