Parliament gears up for key discussions on TTIP
In debates this week in Brussels, GUE/NGL has reiterated its demand that Parliament's stance on TTIP reflects citizens' concerns over the aims and contents of the negotiations.
As the crucial May plenary vote on TTIP approaches, MEPs on Parliament's international trade committee were discussing an input paper to the EP's eventual position on the controversial EU-US deal.
MEP Helmut Scholz, shadow rapporteur for the group on TTIP, said: “As MEPs we must act in the interests of those we represent. The TTIP agreement has to be ratified by the European Parliament before it can enter into force. We must categorically reject the idea that public goods, commons, and citizens' democratic rights become subject to commercial interests.
“The public needs clarification on the regulatory cooperation being targeted, as the current positions directly undermine the democratic rights of legislators to decide on future economic, social and commercial development – on both sides of the Atlantic.”
Scholz added that claims by both EU and US negotiators that there has been a 'fresh start' to the negotiations don't reflect that the original mandate given by the EU Council to negotiators has not changed.
97% of citizens who responded to the Commission's consultation process on an investor-to-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism said they were against handing corporations the power to take action against sovereign governments. Yet the Commission seems intent on ignoring these concerns by simply including it anyway with some slight modifications, with a revised proposal on ISDS to come from Commissioner Malmström in the spring.
Scholz reacted: “This morning we heard Jean-Luc Demarty, Director-General for Trade at the European Commission, tell us that most citizens only opposed ISDS in the consultation because they don't understand it – this is hugely insulting to citizens, not to mention simply not true. We don't want a revised proposal, we want it thrown out.
“But it is not just TTIP – we want ISDS out of all trade agreements, such as CETA and the Singapore-EU agreement. If there is ISDS in CETA, American companies would be able to use their affiliates in Canada to sue European states. I strongly deplore that during the debate the Latvian Presidency refused to reopen negotiations on CETA to get rid of ISDS.”
GUE/NGL Press Contacts:
Emily Macintosh +32 470 85 05 08
Gay Kavanagh +32 473 84 23 20
European United Left / Nordic Green Left
European Parliamentary Group