TTIP: Transparency must come from Europe

25 June 2015

TTIP: Transparency must come from Europe

The SP is urging European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström to make a serious effort to bring transparency to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership between the United States and the European Union. The US Congress yesterday opted for the so-called Fast Track procedure, which removes direct democratic control over the Transpacific Trade Partnership, the treaty being negotiated with a number of countries which lie within or border the Pacific Ocean, including Japan, Australia and Mexico. It is feared that these negotiations will simply continue to take place behind closed doors.

Foto: SP
European Parliament demonstration, Brussels: "Open the door to transparency"

SP Euro-MP Anne-Marie Mineur sits on the International Trade Committee. She says in response to Congress’s move that “with this they are giving up the chance both to follow the negotiations closely and to have any influence on them. Congress has handed competence on this to the President, and can at best still vote to reject when the final result is put before them. However, Congress has never before voted against a proposal after preciously voting for Fast Track.”

Whether Congress will also give President Obama a free hand in relation to the TTIP is not yet known. According to Mineur, this means that Commissioner Malmström has a role to play here. “Malmström promised when she took office to offer the European Parliament maximum transparency regarding the TTIP. Yet we’re still not being given sight of all the documents. Only the EU’s contribution is known, and this information has often already been overtaken by events. The European Parliament has the right only to vote for or against the treaty, which means that democratic control is very meagre. Malmström should be doing decidedly more on that point, but also stepping up the pressure on the Americans.”

Mineur is concerned. “This is about enormous changes. It’s not only that trade tariffs will be dispensed with, there’ll also be new rules concerning agriculture, banking and the pharmaceutical industry, and the controversial arbitrage mechanism, the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) system forms part of the deal. It’s shocking the ease with which democratically elected representatives of the people are having their oversight function taken out of their hands. It will also mean that the US media can publish less on the negotiations.”

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