Comments of the Sustainability Impact Assessment of the TiSA

The comments below have been sent by the European Water Movement to the Ecorys TSIA of TiSA study team after the publication of its draft Final Report commissioned by the European Commission.

Preliminary remark: our comments are based on the EU 2nd revised offer of November 2016 while the Sustainability Impact Assessment is based on the EU revised offer of May 2016.

1/ EU offer for TiSA goes beyond GATS

The European Parliament resolution on TISA asks for “do not go beyond GATS 1994/1995”. The European Commission does not respect this resolution since the EU offer for TiSA goes beyond GATS. For example, Market Access and National Treatment is offered for waste water services (CPC 9401) with GATS modes 1, 2 and 3 by the EC while GATS has only modes 2 and 3. Similar liberalisation for GATS mode 1 for Market Access and National Treatment can be found in other environmental services (CPS 9402-9406, CPC 9409).

2/ The Public Utilities clause does not fully protect public services

A lex specialis such as the provisions of the waste water services usually overrides a lex generalis such as the Public Utilities clause in EU offer for TiSA.

3/ TiSA's ratchet clause for National Treatment is detrimental to public authorities in charge of water public services

As soon as a public authority grants a concession for a public service to a private company, the public service forever inherits the National Treatment provision. The public authority will have to take this into account when choosing a new operator for the service.

4/ The classification of services used in the EU offer for TiSA favors the commodification of new services

The WTO classification of services used in GATS and in the EU offer for TiSA is outdated. Many new environmental services using new technologies have been created since the GATS publishing in 1994. These new services are being combined with the existing services and in this way commodified just like the existing ones (waste water, remediation and cleanup of soil and waters, protection of biodiversity and landscape).

5/ Waste water services must be fully taken out of the EU trade agreements as concluded by the European Parliament resolution on 8 September 2015 as follow up to the European Citizen's Initiative right2water.

Conclusion: In the EU offer for TiSA, trade rights prevail over safeguarding ecosystems and human rights to water and sanitation. It is in contradiction with the EP resolution and the especially ECI righ2water.

pdf file