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23.05.2013

EU-US trade negotiations

EP majority keeps heads in sand on major concerns with Commission mandate

The European Parliament today adopted a resolution endorsing negotiations on an EU-US free trade agreement (1). The Greens expressed regret at the resolution, which ignores major concerns with the Commission's draft mandate, with trade spokesperson Yannick Jadot stating:

"In giving the go-ahead to EU-US free trade negotiations, a majority of MEPs have today kept their heads in the sand and ignored the myriad of major concerns with the Commission's requested mandate.

"The EU Commission is sadly simply guided by a dogmatic belief in trade liberalisation, with little regard for EU standards. Commissioner De Gucht himself has stated that everything is on the table. The result poses a real threat to core EU standards and rules, whether as regards the protection of the cultural sector and public services, intellectual property and data protection, food safety, GMOs, geographical indications, health and environmental standards...the risks are many. The US is much better organised in terms of economic and industrial policy and will have no qualms about defending its narrow interests.

"The dogmatic approach of the Commission will be facilitated by the opacity of the negotiating process. There will be no real democratic oversight of these negotiations, with documents not publicly accessible. The result will be a take-it-or-leave-it deal that the EP will be expected to rubberstamp. This flies in the face of democratic due process.

"The only silver lining in today's resolution was parliament's demand to exclude the cultural and audiovisual services sectors from the negotiations. At least on this issue, MEPs have responded to public will."

(1) The final decision will be taken on June 14 by the Member States.

More information:

Richard More O'Ferrall

Press and Media Advisor (English language and Nordic press, social media)
Tel. Brussels +32-2-2841669
Fax Brussels +32-2-2844944
Tel. Strasbourg +33-3-88174042
Fax Strasbourg +33-3-88353976