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Cultural Exceptions in TTIP? Non-Existent

(Translation, 18 May 2015) CETA, TTIP and TISA, the three most familiar agreements that are at present under negotiation, should be stopped. Not only to preserve art and culture, but also to be able to do so – in their whole variety and above all within parameters that are not simply defined in terms of economic criteria.

Cultural Exceptions in TTIP? Non-Existent

(Translation: Peter Waugh)

Art and culture not only defy any universally valid definition in general, they also elude all the usual definitions which serve as guidelines for organising trade agreements such as the TTIP. The declarations of the European Commission and the Austrian Federal Ministry of the Economy therefore end up being circuitous: while concerns about the effects of the CETA or TTIP on art and culture may be unfounded, the same cannot be said about every detail of the agreements.

It is precisely here that the problem lies: from where we stand today, it cannot be foreseen which areas of art and culture will fall within the jurisdiction of cultural policy after the signing of the TTIP, TISA and CETA, and which areas will then be determined solely according to the economic criteria of the market. What is, however, clear is that it will no longer be politicians who decide about this matter, but rather investors – in cases of doubt via private investment protection proceedings (ISDS).

Cultural policy instruments which might represent a barrier to free trade range from subsidies and grants to social insurance and the financing of public service cultural institutions such as museums and theatres, from the imposition of fees as a way to finance cultural services, such as libraries and broadcasting, to special tax regulations and price controls for cultural products. What all of these control mechanisms have in common is that, in capitalism, they are regarded as impediments to free competition – i.e. represent potential bargaining chips in the TTIP negotiations. At the time of writing, the sole exception that has so far been envisaged is the “audio-visual field” – yet it has not been given any more precise definition.

CETA, TTIP and TISA, the three most familiar agreements that are at present under negotiation, should be stopped. Not only to preserve art and culture, but also to be able to do so – in their whole variety and above all within parameters that are not simply defined in terms of economic criteria.

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Zuletzt verändert: 03.06.2015 09:46