EU Parliament shows its teeth in view of 2014 elections

Debate: "Can a future Free Trade Agreement create a proper EU-US energy dialogue?" (European Parliament photographic library, 15/05/2013).

Debate: “Can a future Free Trade Agreement create a proper EU-US energy dialogue?” (European Parliament photographic library, 15/05/2013).

One year ahead of the European Parliament elections and the legislators are showing to the Commission and the Council their teeth, which have been sharpened by the Treaty of Lisbon. Practically nothing can be done in the European Union without the consent of the Parliament. A trilateral agreement (Parliament, Council and Commission) is needed on everything.

Under this light the Parliament warned the Commission and the Council that while negotiating the new ground breaking free trade and investment agreement with the US, they must keep in mind that the Parliament’s consent will not be given or denied in a wholesale package, but is needed on every important stage. This strict attitude by legislators is expected to cover all open issues and will create a new environment in the workings of the Union over the next months.

Parliament ready to fight

Currently the European deputies have opened a number of battlefronts with the other two main EU institutions. The most important of them, from an esoteric point of view, is the EU budgets for the new Multiannual Financial Framework 2014-2020, along with the coverage of the unpaid bills of 2012 and the fiscal gaps expected to be left open this year. The Parliament in a rare unanimity has rejected the €960 billion ceiling, proposed by the Council, for EU budget spending over the next seven years.

Another important point of friction between the Parliament on the one side and the Commission and the Council on the other is related to the new economic governance framework (European Monetary Union). This legislation covers the 27 EU member state budgets and more particularly the 17 Eurozone countries’ government spending. The basic new rule for the euro area nations is that their government accounts, before being approved by national Parliaments, must first secure the green light from the Commission. Only yesterday legislators turned upside-down a Commission proposal for the creation of ‘a social dimension’ in the European Monetary Union (economic governance).

Now it’s the turn of this historic free trade and investment agreement with the US, that the EU Parliament has decided to keep under close monitoring. A relevant press release issued by legislators goes like that, ”Parliament must be kept on board in talks with the US on what could become the world’s largest free trade area”. The warning came in the form of a resolution voted on Thursday.

Yes to EU-US deal but…

The MEPs in their resolution strongly favoured starting the talks, but also stated their expectations, e.g. as regards opening up access to the US procurement market and safeguarding the EU’s cultural and audiovisual services market. This text is Parliament’s input to the EU negotiating mandate. “An ambitious and comprehensive agreement would give a badly needed, low-cost boost to our economies”, said the House rapporteur Vital Moreira (S&D, PT), before the vote on Parliament’s input to the negotiations on a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).
“This resolution should now be duly taken into account by the Council and the Commission, as Parliament will only give its final consent if we have a positive outcome for our businesses, workers and citizens”, he added. Moreira is absolutely right in saying that because this agreement is expected to affect almost every one of the 500 million EU citizens and the tens of millions of small and big businesses.

The EU-US free trade and investment agreement is to create the largest ever uniform business space on the surface of the globe. There are sectors however like the agri-food (GMOs and cloning), culture (intellectual property rights), data protection, and citizens’ rights which are expected to create serious problems in the bilateral negotiations. On top of that the MEPs expect the deal to open up new opportunities for EU firms, especially small and medium-sized ones.

For example, they expect the European Commission to seek full access for EU firms to US public procurement markets, and the removal of current US restrictions on EU suppliers of maritime and air transport services and particularly foreign ownership of airlines, and financial service providers.

In view of the dead ends which will surely plague those negotiations, there is the risk that the most controversial sectors may be left out of the scope of the agreement. This will be the worst possible solution, because this is probably what the other side is looking for. To avoid this dreadful prospect legislators stressed that the “Parliament has teeth and can bite”. Besides giving the green light to start talks (460 votes in favour, 105 against and 28 abstentions), the MEPs remind negotiators of their duty to keep Parliament “immediately and fully informed” at all stages of the talks.

Current impact assessments by the Parliament suggest that the free trade agreement with the US could boost the GDP of the EU by 0.5%, which would be translated into extra €545 a year for each family of four in the EU. The EU Council of Ministers plans to authorize the opening of negotiations and approve negotiating directives in June. Talks could then begin in July and the Commission hopes to conclude them by the end of 2014.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Terrorism ‘spreading and destabilizing’ entire regions, Guterres warns States, at key Kenya conference

Here’s how we get businesses to harmonize on climate change

Drones are saving lives in Tanzania’s remote communities

Dignified health for all who live here

Austria, Italy, Portugal, Spain receive €279m after natural disasters in 2019

China, forever new adventures

A day that Berlin and Brussels would remember for a long time

I cycled over 6,000km across the United States to document climate change. Here’s what I learned

Climate action ‘both a priority and a driver of the decade’: Guterres

Antitrust: Commission consults stakeholders on guidance for national courts when handling disclosure information

No more lead in PVC to protect public health, say MEPs

Commission reviews relations with China, proposes 10 actions

Available mental health services: is it only about professionals or institutions?

UN rights experts ‘gravely’ concerned at spike in civilian casualties in north-west Myanmar following internet shutdown

COVID-19: Single market must emerge stronger from the crisis, say MEPs

Europe and the tragicomic ‘black sovranismo’

Humanitarian migration falls while labour and family migration rises

Facebook has built an AI-based tool that fixes the social network when it crashes

Africa’s future is innovation rather than industrialization

UN rights expert calls for civilian protection as fighting escalates between military and armed group

East Africa locusts threaten food insecurity across subregion, alerts UN agriculture agency

Migration crisis update: What are the chances of a fair deal at this EU Summit?

2021 EU budget must focus on supporting a sustainable recovery from the pandemic

David McAllister underlines the need for rapid progress in EU-UK negotiations

Prisons are failing. It’s time to find an alternative

This tool shows you which cities will flood as ice sheets melt

How to build a digital infrastructure that benefits emerging economies

A rapid deterioration of the humanitarian situation in the war-torn Yemen

Banking Union: ECOFIN and Parliament ready to compromise

4 ways family businesses can lead the pandemic recovery

Could electric vehicles pose a threat to our power systems?

GSMA Announces Final Event Lineup for Highly Anticipated 2019 “MWC Los Angeles, in Partnership with CTIA”

Summer 2018 Interim Economic Forecast: Resilient Growth amid increased uncertainty

“The winner is who can accelerate the transition to a new digital era”. The Sting reports live from EBS 2015: a Digital Europe 4.0

EU mobilises €21 million to support Palestine refugees via the UN Relief and Works Agency

EU: Divided they stand on immigration and Trump hurricanes

Under-fives’ daily screen time should be kept to 60 minutes only, warns WHO

Preventing the Pandemic of Mental Illness

COVID-19: Emerging technologies are now critical infrastructure – what that means for governance

Mario Draghi quizzed for last time by Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee

MEPs and European Youth Forum call on EU to Invest in Youth

EU to host international donors’ conference for Albania to help with reconstruction after earthquake

Manufacturing is finally entering a new era

Business could learn plenty about cybersecurity from the secret state

In Bali, UN chief Guterres outlines importance of international financial cooperation for sustainable development

Detecting online child sexual abuse requires strong safeguards

The ‘yellow vests’ undermined Macron in France and the EU

UN conference agrees better ways for Global South countries to work together on sustainable development

How India is solving its cooling challenge

Meet Alice, the battery-powered plane that could herald the age of electric air travel

Kids who live in the countryside have better motor skills, a study in Finland has found

Cohesion Policy after 2020: preparing the future of EU investments in health

MEPs demand an end to migrant deaths across the Mediterranean Sea

Search Engine neutrality in Europe in danger: Are 160.000 Google filtering requests good enough?

Our children’s career aspirations have nothing in common with the jobs of the future

World Editors Forum President: Credible media vital in the fight against COVID-19 and fake news epidemic

Coronavirus: here’s what you need to know about face masks

Donor countries set international standard for preventing sexual exploitation, abuse, and harassment in development sector

Can medical students be prepared for Global Health ethical issues?

Merkel refuses to consider the North-South schism of Eurozone

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s