Parliament supports SP: consult citizens over EU-US free trade agreement

20 February 2014

Parliament supports SP: consult citizens over EU-US free trade agreement

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, the free trade agreement under negotiation between the US and the EU, must not lead to a lowering of European standards. A motion to this effect proposed by the SP was carried in the Dutch national Parliament on Thursday. Commenting on the successful motion, SP Member of Parliament Jasper van Dijk said that ‘this would prevent a race to the bottom in relation to safety provisions, sustainability, and working conditions. US corporations which, due to their export interests, are putting pressure on for a lower standard of protection, are from today onwards going to be in conflict with the express will of Parliament.’

Jasper van DijkA second motion from Van Dijk called on the government to organise a broad ‘consultation’ on the agreement, which would mean that the citizens would have to be given the opportunity to comment on the controversial treaty. ‘There are a lot of concerns about the lack of transparency, the extent of member states’ control and the possibility corporations will be given to sue governments. I will ensure that this is done in a constructive fashion.’

The controversial free trade agreement has already provoked a great deal of debate because of its enormous impact on member states’ freedom to manoeuvre. Supporters would like to see one big EU-US market, giving no space to member states to formulate their own national policies. ‘That’s going much too far,’ says Van Dijk, ‘and we need to do all we can to resist such a culture of litigation. Opposition is broad, so it remains to be seen whether the treaty will materialise.’

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