European Commission threatens to introduce TTIP without democratic approval

13 November 2015

European Commission threatens to introduce TTIP without democratic approval

Foto: SP / TTIP demonstration, Strasbourg, 10th June, 2015

Without even giving the European Parliament the chance to vote on it, the European Commission can allow trade agreements such as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) and the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) to enter into force provisionally. The SP views this as unacceptable, and for this reason has issued an urgent appeal to the president of the European Council, Donald Tusk, to refuse to ratify such agreements until not only the European Parliament but also the national parliaments have had the chance to study their contents.

SP Euro-MP Anne-Marie Mineur called on her fellow MEPs to co-sign the letter containing the appeal to Tusk. ‘We are calling for such treaties to be put to the member states’ national parliaments in their entirety, and we also think that there should be in each case a referendum on the contents. The “trade barriers” now being removed are in fact the rules protecting our trade union rights, our health and our environment. Our populations must be able to join in the debate on this. It now seems that these treaties, even without the approval of the European Parliament, can come into force in any case. The leaders of our governments, who come together in the European Council, must not let this happen.”

Since 2009, when the Lisbon Treaty came into force, the conclusion of trade agreements has been the responsibility of the European Commission. On the question as to whether that applies in the case of far-reaching free trade treaties such as those currently being negotiated by the Commission with a number of countries including Canada (CETA) and the United States (TTIP), no jurisprudence as yet exists. It is possible that the legal situation is one of shared competence, in which case the national parliaments will have the right to pronounce on certain sections of the agreements. The advice requested from the European Court of Justice regarding the already completed treaty with Singapore could take eighteen months to two years to arrive, and until that occurs the European Parliament cannot express its opinion on either that or other agreements. These treaties can indeed some into force, including the controversial Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanism, even if provisionally.

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