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The European Parliament (EP) adopted the report on TTIP in the plenary session of the 8th of July with a majority of 436 votes. AEDH positively appreciates that a public debate on the state of play of the TTIP negotiations took place in the European Parliament, but it considers that the resolution adopted is quite shy. Real prelude to the ratification of the Treaty by the Parliament the resolution sends a contradictory message – that pretends to satisfy both TTIP advocates and its opponents – to the European Commission that has received by the member states the mandate to lead the negotiations with the United States.
AEDH fears that the adopted resolution does not contribute to creating a positive evolution of the Commission’s mandate. The resolution of the EP, hiding behind a few progresses, ignores protests by several MEPs and civil society with regards to the anti-democratic mechanisms that are ISDS and regulatory cooperation. Yet these protests are the reflection of a political and social debate that is far from over.
The resolution reflects few of the criticism and reluctance of some MEPs, generally, it validates several dispositions expressed by Member States and the Council of Ministers. Most of services will be integrated into the treaty even if the EP asks for a positive list (meaning that services have to be clearly stated in the text). The resolution welcomes transparency as an ongoing process, whereas it should be considered as a principle already acquired by citizens. No guarantee on the authorities that will preside the regulatory cooperation mechanisms has been secured.
An amendment asking for the refusal of ISDS has not been adopted, the EP settled for asking in the resolution for a reform of the ISDS, insisting on principles of democratic control, especially on the independence of judges appointed by the states, the publicity of the trials and the introduction of an appeal mechanism. That will not hinder the fact that these courts will only be open to investors, not to citizens, not to states. And they will allow investors to skirt the local courts.
AEDH finds that the resolution leaves the Commission a considerable margin of manoeuvre – explaining the satisfaction of Commissioner Cecilia Malmström – that has resumed the negotiations with the United States since 13th July.
AEDH denounces a strategy that leaves the negotiators without red lines and limits democratic control. Europe has to be constructed by mobilising all of its elements, and not by excluding the civil society, motor of the dialogue between citizens and the institutions that represent them. But the imbalance of interests is significant in the negotiations whose main aim, as shown in the mandate given to the Commission, serve the sole purpose of serving the interests of private investors, those being detrimental to the social and economic rights of the citizens. The argument of TTIP creating numerous jobs is false: it will destroy jobs and will cause at the same time the loss of several social guarantees with the deregulation of workers’ rights. General interest services are a major example of citizens’ wealth not in terms of financial costs but of well-being, but they will be harmed by this treaty and that in favour of private actors whose main objectives are to generate profit. Free-Trade agreements like CETA or TiSA stand in direct contradiction between previous European regulations calling for the protection of rights while they are ruining this protection.
AEDH calls on the Commission and the Council to take into account citizens’ mobilisation against the TTIP, wiped away in the first place but is more vivid than ever.
Read more: AEDH Press Release « Transatlantic Free Trade Agreements: Bad weather for Rights !”
See the resolution of the European Parliament on TTIP
Watch Bernd Lange’s press conference after the vote
See the statement of Trade commissioner Cecilia Malmström