CULT Committee calls for exclusion of non-profit educational services from the TTIP

April 2015

The ongoing negotiations on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the European Union (EU) and the United States of America (USA) are a cause of concern for many educational stakeholders in Europe. Especially independent non-profit providers like the Steiner and Waldorf schools might eventually be affected by the TTIP.

Picture: US and EU flags by openDemocracy

TTIP is a proposed free trade agreement, which aims to further liberalise trade in goods and services by reducing trade barriers and harmonising systems. Despite announcements of the European Commission to exclude “services supplied in the exercise of governmental authority”, many stakeholders are worried. Not only is the formulation weak and opens the floor to various, and sometimes contradicting, interpretations, it also does not offer sufficient protection for a variety of non-profit services.

Civil Society Organisations active in the field of education have often voiced their concerns, but have managed to make themselves heard only recently. Since 5th February 2015, the European Parliament is working on an Initiative report, which is supposed to give the Commission concrete recommendations on the TTIP negotiations and is a joint initiative of 15 Parliamentary Committees. This helped to open up the debate on the TTIP and allowed for a more balanced discussion of arguments. Many concerns of Civil Society Organisations are better reflected in these debates and might shape the final text considerably.

On 16 April 2015, the Committee on Education and Culture (CULT) of the European Parliament voted on its Opinion on Recommendations to the European Commission. The original draft provided by rapporteur Helga Trüpel (Greens/EFA) called for an exclusion of educational services “which receive public funding or state support in any form”. This clearly reflected some of the concerns voiced by Civil Society Organisations and brought improvements into the wording. Fully privately funded non-profit providers, like most Steiner schools in the UK, would however not be covered by this clause. This was clearly not enough to sufficiently protect the interests of the independent non-profit schools.

ECSWE therefore decided to collaborate with the European Forum for Freedom in Education (effe) in a joint lobby-initiative. In order to better reflect the needs of all non-profit educational services, they successfully proposed and promoted amendments to the original text. Thanks to the support of the European Civil Society Platform for Lifelong Learning (EUCIS-LLL), all Members of the CULT Committee were addressed ahead of the votes, and finally a broad majority voted in favour of an exclusion “of all educational services which work on a non-profit-basis and/or receive public funding to any degree or state support in any form.” This is good news for all Steiner and Waldorf Schools in Europe.

The Opinion will now be delivered to the Committee on International Trade, which is supposed to vote on the Initiative report in May. The final vote in the Plenary of the EP is scheduled 9th June 2015.

Source: ECSWE

All news in this category

New Zealand Waldorf schools get off lightly after earthquake

After the massive earthquake a week ago, Waldorf schools are thankful that they suffered comparatively little damage – in contrast to the 2011... [more]

The Powerful Force of Curiosity

Curiosity killed the cat. Eve was curious about the forbidden fruit. Pandora was curious about what was in that box. [more]

How do children learn empathy?

Empathy, the ability to understand others and feel compassion for them, is arguably the most defining human quality – setting us apart from smart... [more]

For creativity, capability and resilience, Steiner schools work

Steiner education is a popular choice of alternative schooling in Australia, with more than 40 schools country-wide. Along with other alternatives to... [more]

Waldorf education in Switzerland

In Switzerland 4.2 percent or 38.231 students attend private schools for their compulsory schooling (grades 1-9). In 2013-14 there were 28 Waldorf /... [more]

Waldorf education in Spain

At an educational level Spain is going through a special situation. Over the last four years Spain had a government which imposed a new educational... [more]

Waldorf education in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland

The Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship (SWSF) was founded 1953 with 7 members: Elmfield (Stourbridge), Michael Hall (Forest Row), Michael House... [more]

A look toward Agri-Culture of the Future

Demeter International Members’ Assembly held in Finland adopts mission paper. [more]

The deeper causes of migration

Management consultant Udo Herrmannstorfer argues that the causes of the refugee flows are not only connected with the life-threatening situations in... [more]

The challenge of Waldorf

Being a Waldorf teacher is a challenge which means that Waldorf education in China has found it difficult to retain teachers. Two courses run by... [more]

Displaying results 31 to 40 out of 124

< Previous

Page 1

Page 2

Page 3

Page 4

Page 5

Page 6

Page 7

Next >

Follow