Malmström’s ‘transparency’ on trade treaty remains opaque

7 January 2015

Malmström’s ‘transparency’ on trade treaty remains opaque

Today Cecilia Malmström, European Commissioner for International Trade, released a number of texts related to negotiations on the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). The texts concerning this trade agreement with the United States concern proposals from the European Commission on a number of issues including food safety, chemicals, and small and medium-sized businesses. The SP group in the European Parliament considers this to be a step in the right direction, but is far from satisfied.

Release of the texts follows a call for more transparency from the European Ombudsman, Emily O’Reilly, earlier in the day. In O’Reilly’s view, one of the most important actions which must be taken by the Commission is the publication of the common texts agreed by the EU and the US, a view which the SP shares, as SP Euro-MP Anne-Marie Mineur explains. ‘If we are to have a real, factual debate, we must not only know the EU side’s position, but also get an insight into the texts on which the US and EU have already reached agreement,’ she argues. ‘Then we’d know just where we’re up to. That is currently the case for only twenty-six selected Members of the European Parliament, but these treaties have such an enormous impact on society that the discussion has to be much broader than that.’

Mineur is pleased that Commissioner Malmström is sensitive to public pressure for more openness on the matter, but calls on member states’ citizens to continue to press the point. ‘Although it’s good that there is at last some response to the call for more transparency, this is far from sufficient,’ says Mineur. ‘We still don’t have any clarity when it comes to the behind-closed-doors Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS), or as to just what public services are on the negotiating table.’ The SP European Parliament group will for these reasons be keeping up the pressure on the Commission.


Photo: Demonstration against the TTIP in Amsterdam, October 2014


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