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09 October 2014
Council agrees release of EU TTIP mandate
EU governments have decided to make the TTIP negotiating mandate public today, having previously failed to agree to it last May. The move comes after a year of EU-US negotiations and less than 48 hours before pan-European demonstrations are due across Member States.
Green trade spokesperson Yannick Jadot welcomed the news, stating:
"Making the negotiating mandate public is an important, if overdue, step for improving transparency in the controversial TTIP negotiations. We welcome this belated initiative on the part of EU governments, but it is important to underline that it is only one part of the picture. If the EU is truly committed to transparency on TTIP, the Commission must now grant access to the negotiating documents. The devil is in the detail and it is only by scrutinising the detail in these negotiating documents that those not directly involved in the negotiations can know where these devils lie."
The EU mandate, which was leaked earlier this year, has been widely available online for some months. Outgoing Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht had argued in favour of its release for some time, and today said he was “delighted” EU governments decided to make it public.
Saturday will see over 300 demonstrations take place against TTIP across Europe, a sign that public concern about content of the deal has continued to mount. Yannick Jadot went on to say:
"There is a large and growing sense of unease and concern among the European public and civil society about the ongoing TTIP negotiations. This concern reflects the broad scope of the negotiations and their possible implications on European standards, and is reinforced by the opaque negotiation process. We need to be sure those negotiating on the EU's behalf do not budge an inch on EU standards and full transparency is key in this regard."
The mandate, which is now live on the Commission’s website, will provide citizens with a better understanding of the EU’s goals and the scope of the TTIP talks. The Council will also evaluate the success of the negotiations based on this text.
However, the key negotiating texts, in which both sides outline their joint agreements and draft decisions, will remain locked behind closed doors in secure reading rooms, which are currently only open to a handful of MEPs and EU officials, who cannot disclose the content of what they have read. The real test in the Commission's commitment to greater transparency will be their plans to ensure these documents are available to the wider public in the months ahead.
You can read the full mandate here.
Read the Commission's press release here.