06 July 2016

European Parliament TTIP "red lines" being ignored by Commission new report finds

Over 65 public interest organisations pen letter to President Martin Schulz warning him that the Commission is failing to comply with Parliament’s 2015 Resolution

Simon McKeagney, Editor

A new report revealed today shows that the European Commission is failing to comply with the European Parliament’s resolution on TTIP, which was passed last July following months of contentious debate. The report, authored by the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), ClientEarth and the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL), points to a series of failings by the Commission to adequately take into account the Parliament’s “red lines” on the negotiations.

Authors of the report say that the Commission has “ignored” the Parliament’s recommendation on the controversial investor-state dispute settlement, which demands that “any investment provisions must respect the jurisdictions of courts of the EU and Member States”. According to Karla Hill, Director of Programs with ClientEarth “Since the European Commission has failed to implement this recommendation in its latest proposal for an Investment Court System, there are significant doubts whether this proposal is compatible with the EU Treaties.”

Génon K. Jensen, Executive Director at HEAL also says that the Commission has failed to follow the European Parliament’s demand to “to fully respect differences between the regulatory systems on both sides of the Atlantic,” adding that “The European Commission has proposed to give the US Government early warning of draft regulatory measures and to enable it to suggest certain legislation. How will opening this door further really protect our health? In Europe we have banned over 80 pesticides, which are still legal in the US. The US Government has already pressured the EU not to take ambitious measures to protect public health from hormone disrupting chemicals.

President Schulz warned

Over 65 public interest groups today warned the President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz in an open letter highlighting many of the report's findings. The letter, signed by organisations representing consumers, farmers, not-for-profit health insurers and the environment, comes less than a week before the 14th round negotiations, due to start on 11 July in Brussels. The signatories have urged President Schulz to use his influence to ensure that the Commission reverses their current course, or face rejection of the deal altogether by MEPs:

“Absent an immediate and dramatic reversal of course, the European Commission stands poised to negotiate a proposed TTIP agreement that the European Parliament, the European Member States and the European public cannot, should not and almost certainly will not accept,” said David Azoulay, Senior Attorney and Environmental Health Program Director at CIEL.

The findings provide further ammunition for the growing consensus that the TTIP deal has moved in the wrong direction as well as growing unease amongst Member States governments. Echoing the concerns of President Hollande this week, France’s junior minister for trade and commerce Matthias Fekl said “I think a deal in 2016 is impossible and everyone knows it, including those who say otherwise.”

Commenting on the report, Green/EFA MEP Bart Staes, who was rapporteur for the TTIP opinion from the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety for the TTIP resolution in 2015, said today:

"It is deeply disappointing that the Commission has not taken the European Parliament's concerns into account regarding TTIP, after three and a half years of negotiations. It is now crystal clear that these talks have gone in the complete wrong direction. As the Commission knows well, MEPs will vote for or against the agreement once the negotiations have ended. It would be in their interest to respect the democratic decision-making of those elected to represent citizens at EU level. The fact that they have not is extremely worrying, and another example of why ordinary people have lost trust in the TTIP deal."

Read the letter to European Parliament President Martin Schulz here

Read the full report here: A Compliance Check of the European Parliament’s TTIP Resolution

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