TTIP wins first crucial EU test: MEPs give in to the trade agreement

An MEP is voting on TTIP. INTA - Vote on the TTIP recommendations on ongoing negotiations (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) (EP Audiovisual Services, 28/05/2015)

An MEP is voting on TTIP. INTA – Vote on the TTIP recommendations on ongoing negotiations (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) (EP Audiovisual Services, 28/05/2015)

The long and much discussed Transatlantic Trade an Investment Partnership question in Europe might have reached a new phase, and all the stagnation of the past months seems now to make way for some evolutions.

The European Parliament’s Committee on International Trade passed a key resolution last Thursday, backing the EU-US free trade agreement. Although it still needs to be approved by the Parliament as a whole, the package of recommendation, which passed by 28-13 vote with no abstentions last week, has an enormous importance for the whole TTIP matter. The resolution has given de facto a green light to the European Commission on TTIP, conceding that the controversial investor state dispute settlement, the ISDS, could remain as part of the deal.

Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström seemed satisfied after the vote, and soon declared that she sees ISDS as a “permanent solution” for resolving disputes between investors and states, where potential cases are treated in a transparent manner by publicly appointed, independent professional judges in public hearings”.

The Trans-Atlantic Business Council (TABC), advocacy group of more than 70 multinational corporations, immediately welcomed the approval of the report by the International Trade Committeee (INTA). The TABC, whose CEO and Director General Mr. Tim Bennett has been exclusively interviewed by the European Sting during European Business Summit 2014, has also said via official press release that they are convinced that the “series of recommendations […] will likely be voted on by the entire Parliament” next June 10.

The Members of Parliament insisted in making sure that TTIP would not lower European standards and pushed negotiators to keep that as a priority, but they have basically found a way to keep the ISDS clause in, which the Americans seek. That was only made possible by a deal between the two major parties of the Parliament, European People’s Party and the Socialists & Democrats, reached a compromise on Wednesday, when late at night a rumour that the vote on recommendations for EU-US negotiations seemed likely to pass filtered.

No doubt that we are in front of a “political masterpiece”, a hand-shake which wiped out years of (comprehensible) discords between the two main groups the Parliament. In April almost 50 per cent of the Parliament’s committees rejected the arbitration system, with only EPP being in favour. Actually German Social Democrat and Committee chairman Bernd Lange has been largely criticised after the vote for not having expressively banned the inclusion of the ISDS mechanism in the first draft of the package, as he reportedly seemed to have promised before. Mr Lange, previously said for instance that an ISDS mechanism is not necessary “given the US and Europe’s legal systems”. Nevertheless, he claimed that moving towards Commissioner Malmström’s idea was a “step in the right direction”.

Monique Goyens, director-general of the European Consumer Organisation (BEUC), said that “deplorably” the MEPs “took a very ambiguous stance” on ISDS. “We have yet to see any facts justifying its inclusion in an EU-US trade deal,” she said. The final text was also criticised by left-wing GUE MEP Helmut Scholz, who said the resolution had “ignored” concerns expressed about ISDS and had been left “open and vague”.

It’s important to specify again that the measure serves only as an advice to the European Commission and does not represent a final solution or decision over the gigantic EU-US trade agreement. However, May 29th vote has been closely watched as a key indicator of whether the European Union will eventually sign up to TTIP after many months of wide protests across the bloc and many cold signs of apathy by key member states as Germany.

Just a few days before the vote, Chancellor Angela Merkel openly expressed support towards TTIP saying in an interview last Saturday that she hopes it will be finalised by 2017. “It’s in the interest of our jobs and our prosperity that we encourage trade with the United States and not give it up to competitors from other regions,” Merkel told German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung referring to Asia. Opposition to the mammoth EU-US trade agreement is unusually strong in Germany, and the Chancellor saw how this very moment is crucial – as last Thursday’s vote was – in the development of the whole question.

The recommendations from the Parliament to the Commission negotiators, which have already convened together for 9 rounds of talks so far, will be submitted to a vote in the next plenary session in Strasbourg next June 10.

What is certain though is that last Thursday’s vote at the Parliament could boost TTIP over the longer term, and represents with no doubt a game-changer in the whole, delicate TTIP question in Europe.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

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

Two women threaten to tear the world apart

The implications of Brexit on European business, youth entrepreneurship and junior enterprises.

Treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons marks first anniversary, but still lacks sufficient numbers to become law

Rising landmine blast toll in Afghanistan highlights long-term care needs of survivors

Giving humanitarian help to migrants should not be a crime, say MEPs

Jo Cox’s murderer believed the ‘leave’ campaign leaders that the ‘remain’ vote is treason

Brexit kick-off: a historic day for the EU anticlockwise

Will Merkel ever steer the EU migration Titanic and restore her power in Germany?

Why is the EU launching a doomed policy in stopping immigrant waves? What are the real targets?

Another 170 migrants disappear in shipwrecks, UN agency reiterates call for an end to Mediterranean tragedy

Satellites and data are going to help us phase out fossil fuels. Here’s how

How much is nature worth? $125 trillion, according to this report

Preparing medical students for new challenges in medical ethics

The EU Commission predicts a decimated growth in the next years

UN calls for funds to ease ‘deteriorating’ humanitarian situation in Gaza and West Bank

Imaginary Journeys Into Eternal China

For how long will terror and economic stagnation be clouding the European skies?

G20 LIVE: “United States and Turkey stand in solidarity with France and its people in handing the perpetrators of this crime and bringing them to justice”, US President Barack Obama underlines from G20 in Antalya Turkey

Trade in fake goods is now 3.3% of world trade and rising

Permanent structured cooperation (PESCO) on the table of NATO Defense Ministers amid US concerns

Brexit: Ensuring a smooth transition for car producers and safety on the roads

Wednesday’s Daily Brief: Sudan, Libya, Yemen updates, solutions for e-waste, flood response in Iran, online security for children

Chart of the day: This is how many animals we eat each year

‘I thought I’d never get out alive’ – the Muslim director who interviewed neo-Nazis

Nuclear test ban treaty critical to global collective security – UN chief

Doctors without borders

German egotistic inward turn to badly hurt Europe after Merkel’s exit

You’ve heard of 5G, but what about the quantum internet?

Marking Sir Brian Urquhart’s 100th birthday, UN honours life-long servant of ‘we the peoples’

Protect women’s rights ‘before, during and after conflict’ UN chief tells high-level Security Council debate

EU Commission: Germany can make Eurozone grow again just by helping itself

Accelerating a more sustainable industrial revolution with digital manufacturing

Italy’s dilemma after Merkel-Hollande agreed loose banking union

These chefs are fighting hunger and poverty with gastronomy

Service and Sacrifice: Ugandan ‘Blue Helmets’ support UN efforts to bring peace to Somalia

World Health Organization calls crisis meeting over deadly Ebola outbreak in DR Congo

Somalia: UN mission head condemns deadly terrorist attacks in Mogadishu, Galkayo

Low quality healthcare is increasing the burden of illness and health costs globally

European Union: From financial consolidation to deeper political division

4 things to know about the state of conflict today

Social, cultural diversity ‘an enormous richness, not a threat’ Guterres declares calling on investment for a harmonious future

“Health and environment first of all”, EU says with forced optimism after 7th round of TTIP talks

MEPs approve EU’s spending in 2017

Myanmar: Conflict resolution at ‘total standstill’, military commanders must answer for crimes against humanity

5G will redefine entire business models. Here’s how

UN rights experts call on Russia to release Ukrainian film-maker whose life is in ‘imminent danger’

“No labels for entrepreneurs!”, a young business leader from Italy cries out

Is there a chance for the West to win the war on terror?

Soil pollution ‘jeopardizing’ life on Earth, UN agency warns on World Day

From UN Assembly podium, Central African Republic leader appeals for lifting arms embargo

A Young student assesses the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA)

UN chief calls for ‘solidarity, compassion and action’ on World Refugee Day

Batteries can power sustainable development. Here’s how

INTERVIEW: UN’s top official in North Korea foresees ‘surge’ in humanitarian aid

Monday’s Daily Brief: ‘Horror’ at Notre Dame fire disaster, Yemen still bleeding, measles now ‘global crisis’

‘Humiliation was the worst’; Holocaust survivor at UN, asks world to act with ‘empathy and compassion’

Population in crisis hit EU countries will suffer for decades

The Ecofin Council creates officially the clan of ‘undead’ banks

Yemen update: UNICEF chief condemns attack in Taiz that claims lives of seven children

Is Europe ready to cooperate with the rest of the world? Can Germany change its selfish policies?

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