The statement warns that TTIP and TiSA cast into doubt the ability of national and regional authorities to determine the nature of their Higher Education provisions and calls on the EU to make no commitments in the fields of higher and adult education.
EUA has also reiterated that while greater global governance is desirable, as far as higher education is concerned, it should develop on the model of the UNESCO-supported academic recognition frameworks, designed and implemented by the sector. The internationalisation of higher education has developed at a fast pace in recent years: collaborative research, staff and student mobility, open and distance learning - to name a few aspects - have all flourished, and have done so without the framework of trade agreements.
The document can be summarised in six points:
1. Higher Education (HE) is a public responsibility to which all citizens must have right of access, and not a commodity to be transacted by commercial interests.
2. TTIP and TISA create uncertainty on the ability of Member States to determine the nature of their HE systems due to the limited scope of legislative action once the agreement has come into force and the requirement that service liberalisation: (a) can never be reduced and (b) all future services must fall automatically within the scope of the agreements.
3. Several HE systems include both public and private providers and many public institutions depend on a mixture of public and private funding. Such hybridity at institutional level means that TTIP and TiSA cannot be conducted with legal certainty and clarity.
4. Domestic policy is threatened by the Investor State Dispute Mechanism (ISDS) which gives corporations the right to sue public authorities if they consider that local legislation obstructs their ability to generate ‘legitimate’ profit.
5. The secrecy of the negotiations prevents the sector from understanding what specific aspects will impinge on its operating environment - not only on learning and teaching but also data collection, research and development, intellectual property and e-commerce.
6. Higher education, unlike trade, is not an exclusive competence of the EU. Any commitments made in TTIP or in TiSA would go far beyond the scope of its complementary competence.