There’s a bad smell to Malmström’s breath of fresh air

4 February 2015

There’s a bad smell to Malmström’s breath of fresh air

The SP is urging external trade commissioner Cecilia Malmström to pay immediate attention to the request from five environmentalist organisations to be allowed to see negotiating texts relating to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), the proposed free trade treaty with the United States. The NGOs have lodged a complaint with the European Ombudsman, referring in this to the 2001 Treaty of Aarhus, which guaranteed to the public the right to be involved in decision-making on environmental legislation. In the SP’s view, this complaint should not have been necessary.

SP Euro-MP Anne-Marie Mineur expresses irritation regarding the present course of events and has made this clear in a number of questions to the Commissioner. ‘The new European trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström is obviously conducting a charm offensive, and she clearly wants to give the impression that negotiations with the US have been much more transparent since she took office,’ Mineur says. ‘Today it turned out once again that this transparency is merely an appearance. We want to see the back of all this secretiveness. What’s needed is a thorough public discussion about the Commission’s plans.’

Mineur notes in relation to this that the proposed treaty will have a massive influence on the environment, amongst other things, ‘The United States is busily clearing a path for shalegas, a controversial issue,’ she points out. ‘And Canada is keen to trade tar sands oil, which is even more controversial. In addition, regulations governing the emission of harmful substances will be undermined by this treaty. This is what the Treat of Aarhus is intended for. That the environmental NGOs have to get to the Commission via the European Ombudsman shows that Malmström’s so-called “breath of fresh air” carries a bad smell.’

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