A narrow majority of the European Parliament (1) this morning voted to postpone a debate on the EU-US TTIP trade and investment negotiations*, following an initiative by centre-right political groups. The vote to postpone the debate followed a unilateral decision yesterday evening by the EP president to postpone the vote on a resolution on TTIP, which had been foreseen for today. After the vote, Greens/EFA co-president Rebecca Harms said:
"This vote to postpone today's debate on TTIP adds insult to the democratic injury of yesterday evening's unilateral decision by EP president Schulz to postpone the vote on the EP's TTIP resolution. Avoiding the public debate on TTIP now damages the reputation of the European Parliament. Faced with major internal division in the bigger political groups on the EU-US negotiations and particularly on the controversial ISDS investor protection mechanism, the grand coalition is running scared. Denying MEPs the right to raise the legitimate concerns of their electorate in the parliament is a power game by the centre-right, but kicking the can down the road will not make these concerns dissipate. On the contrary, it will strengthen the resolve of those opposed."
Greens/EFA co-president Philippe Lamberts said:
"The socialist group is clearly divided on TTIP but it is not alone. MEPs are starting to pay attention to the consistent and growing opposition to the EU-US negotiations among EU citizens and civil society, and even from unexpected quarters like small and medium-sized businesses. That the decision to postpone the debate passed by the narrowest of margins reveals just how opposition to the EU-US negotiations has grown in the European Parliament, compared with 2 years ago when we last voted on TTIP. This turnaround is a result of the public pressure and growing mobilisation against TTIP in all EU member states. The momentum on TTIP is clearly shifting and we need to keep the pressure up."
(1) 183 votes in favour; 181 against; 37 abstentions.
* TTIP - Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership