Meeting with EU Trade Commissioner Adviser on protecting education within the TTIP
On 27 October, the Lifelong Learning Platform and a small delegation of its members involved in the topic (EAEA, Earlall, ECSWE and ESU) met with EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström’s Adviser, Mrs Mungengova, to discuss the situation of education in the Transatlantic Trade Agreement (TTIP). The discussion centred around clarifying the amendment to the treaty such as adopted in the July negotiations, by which it now provides that publically funded education is excluded from the TTIP. Mrs Mungengova saluted civil society’s organisations’ work in protecting the welfare model Europeans can be proud of and reassured that the European Commission was strongly committed to defend European public services including of course education. Those services are excluded from the negotiations. If other forms of education may also be excluded from liberalisation, the decision rests on Member States who are responsible for deciding what is public and private. Member States have already expressed some reserves on private education. The Platform had raised concerns about the non-for-profit sector, especially adult education and youth work, as those sectors benefit from mix funding. It thus welcomed the European Parliament position stating that those too would fall out of the scope of negotiations. But in fine, since defining public services is a State competence, the Lifelong Learning Platform encourages its members and partners to deepen their work with the national level, in order to ensure education as a public service is not reduced in the future, and that non-for-profit educational services continue to be considered as public services.