The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has today ruled that the EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement is a matter of mixed competence, requiring the ratification of Member States to come into force. The ruling will have major implications for future EU trade deals, says Greens/EFA trade spokesperson Heidi Hautala:
"This is a landmark decision that will shape the way that future EU free trade agreements are negotiated. It is now clear that Member States must be involved in the approval of any free trade deal. The European Commission has been over-stepping its competence when it comes to free trade, using these deals to sneak through changes to the single market that would never have gained support were they presented via EU regulations. This ruling should help prevent this, by creating a more open and transparent process. With confidence in the EU’s ability to conduct trade negotiations in the public interest severely damaged by recent experience, the European Commission must welcome greater scrutiny of trade deals."
Greens/EFA trade spokesperson Yannick Jadot added:
"The EU needs to change its approach to trade policy. There is a huge democratic deficit in the way that trade deals are being negotiated. That is why national parliaments need to be involved at the beginning and throughout the process, to make sure that all 28 Member States take responsibility for what they have agreed. But it's not just on process that we want to see changes. Instead of prioritising the demands of a small number of multinational corporations, the litmus test of any trade deal should be whether it will improve social and working standards, protect our environment, and create quality and sustainable jobs."