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22 May 2014
German Greens call on Schulz and Juncker to clarify their TTIP stances
At a meeting of the Alliance 90/The Greens in Germany on Monday, Green MEPs Rebecca Harms and Sven Giegold called on the top candidates for Commission President, Martin Schulz and Jean-Claude Juncker, to clarify their positions on TTIP, warning Martin Schulz in particular to either admit that his S&D Group in the Parliament is pro-TTIP, or explain to citizens why they were on the wrong track for so long. The calls come as TTIP is due to be debated in the German Bundestag today.
The S&D group have been the strongest supporters of the EU-US trade deal since it was first announced last year, hosting a series of pro-TTIP seminars in the Parliament and voting down an amendment on greater transparency in TTIP last May. The amendment called for the release of the EU mandate for the talks. The majority of S&D MEPs voted against more transparency, along with almost the entire EPP group. As a result, the amendment was rejected by the Parliament. The EU mandate remains unpublished, following the Council's failure to come to an agreement on its release last Thursday. However- in a high-profile leak in March, the German Greens released the EU mandate online.
Both the EPP and S&D leaders have received widespread public criticism for supporting the agreement, which could have far-reaching implications in a host of sectors. But with the European Elections highlighting TTIP concerns across Europe, Martin Schulz has now indicated that he wants more transparency in the negotiations, while both Schulz and Juncker have stated that EU standards are ‘non-negotiable’. In a press release from the National Executive Board of the Alliance 90/The Greens they state:
‘Europeans are proud of our environment and consumer rights. They are among the great achievements of European Union. Citizens have worked hard for their rights as consumers and workers and fought for high ecological and social standards. We Greens have fought together with civil society and will not allow now that these successes are undermined by TTIP.’
They also call for TTIP negotiations to be halted and restarted on the right footing, putting high environmental and social standards at the heart of the talks, and removing the possibility of investor-state lawsuits or risks to European regulation.