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.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

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

Data is the oil of the digital world. What if tech giants had to buy it from us?

Mario Draghi didn’t do it but Kim Jong-un did

We need better alignment between climate and trade. Here’s a roadmap

Plan for troop pullback ‘now accepted’ by rival forces around key Yemen port, but fighting intensifying elsewhere, Security Council warned

More hiring freedom can reduce teacher shortages in disadvantaged areas

Primary Healthcare should be strongly connected with initial education

CLIMATE CHANGE FOCUS: Tunisia coastline in need of climate cash boost

In Rwanda, high-speed drones are delivering blood to remote communities

EU unfolds strategy on the Egypt question

UN News 2018 Recap: In Case You Missed It

EU: 13 major banks may pay fines 10% of worldwide turnover

EU Budget 2020 deal: Investing more in climate action, youth and research

Syria: At least seven children killed in yet another airstrike

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

Berlin to pay at the end for Eurozone banks’ consolidation

What wealth managers can learn from family dynamics

Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson: who forced the two ‘brave’ Brexiteers to quit?

New study shows close link between GVCs participation and economic development

Good grub: why we might be eating insects soon

Children as old as 12 can benefit from an afternoon nap

Hungary: Commission takes next step in the infringement procedure for non-provision of food in transit zones

Traditional finance is failing millennials. Here’s how investing needs to change

The EU Parliament sidesteps the real issues about banks, while the US target the Eurozone lenders

Desires for national independence in Europe bound by economic realities

Iran-US attack in Iraq: Guterres pledges ‘active engagement’ in further de-escalation efforts

Superbugs: MEPs advocate further measures to curb use of antimicrobials

Millennials (and Gen X) – Here are the steps you should take to secure your financial future

MARKUP initiative to boost market access to Europe for East African SMEs

Libya: UN Mission condemns deadly attack against police in country’s south-east

Banks get trillions and the unemployed ECB’s love…

The European Sting’s 2018 in most critical review

Finnish Prime Minister calls for a more united EU of concrete actions

These countries have the most powerful passports

Slovakia and its failure to abide by the European law

What happens when the Eurogroup decides to help Greece

“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 job-search aid worth €9.9m for 1,858 former Air France workers

MEPs push for high ambitions at the COP25 in Madrid

UN welcomes ‘milestone’ release of 833 Nigerian children from anti-Boko Haram force

How has tech been used for good in civil society? We asked the experts

European Investment Bank to borrow €70 billion in 2013

‘Negative forces’ at work in DR Congo threaten ‘largely peaceful’ relations across Great Lakes region, says outgoing UN envoy

4 steps towards wiping out cervical cancer

FROM THE FIELD: Gaza men advocate for an end to early marriage

Civil society can make sure no one is left stranded by the skills gap

EU-U.S. Privacy Shield: Second review shows improvements but a permanent Ombudsperson should be nominated by 28 February 2019

ECB is about to lend trillions to banks

‘Act now with ambition and urgency’ to tackle the world’s ‘grave climate emergency’, UN chief urges UAE meeting

3 charts that show how global carbon emissions hit a record high in 2018

The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page

Tech companies are changing, for the better

4 lessons on human cooperation from the fight against Ebola

Alcoholic drinks: Commission tables update of rules governing alcohol excise duties

European Young Innovators Forum @ European Business Summit 2014: Europe for StartUps, vision 2020

MFF: Commission’s plan “impossible to implement” with Finnish proposal

A third of young people polled by UN, report being a victim of online bullying

Estonian Prime Minister Ratas: Europe is a thought that must become a feeling

So, what is your favourite Sustainable Development Goal?

Be a part of the World Forum on Future Trends in Defence and Security

The unpleasant truth of plastic straws

More Stings?

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