The European Parliament today, under direct pressure from its President Martin Schulz, adopted its recommendations to the European Commission on the negotiations for the EU-US trade treaty (TTIP). Commenting on this, Greens/EFA trade spokesperson Yannick Jadot said:
“Two years after having together enthusiastically welcomed the opening of negotiations on the EU-US trade treaty, the 'grand coalition' of centre-left, centre and centre-right groups has had major difficulties in building a new majority for even an ambiguous expression of support for the TTIP. This is because for the last two years the TTIP has come under heavy criticism from citizens, consumers, trade unions, citizens, cities and regions and SMEs. Today's adoption is thanks only to the last-minute switch in position of some centre-left MEPs on the question of private arbitration courts, under pressure from President Schulz allied with the centre-right.
By postponing last month's TTIP debate and vote, Martin Schulz won time to impose a new compromise concerning private arbitration courts. Over the last few months, centre-left MEPs had shown their willingness to respect citizens' democratic wishes but this conflicted with Schulz's strategy of compromise with the centre and centre-right groups who are openly in favour of the TTIP's deregulation agenda. During the voting itself, Martin Schultz even twisted the meaning of the European Parliament's Rules of Procedure to fit his political goals.
Two years ago no-one could have predicted the level of mistrust MEPs are now showing towards the TTIP. Public opinion and citizen activism has played a big part here and has altered the balance of power within the Parliament. While negotiations have not even reached the halfway marker yet, this hollow victory of the pro-TTIP camp means the story does not end here and Greens will continue to oppose the TTIP.”
Greens/EFA vice-president and international investment spokesperson Ska Keller said:
“President Schulz's compromise amendment on private arbitration courts is an insult to transparency. The "new" system proposed provides for a separate, parallel legal framework for investors only. It's still investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) even if Schulz has packaged it as something different.
However, ISDS is not the only thing wrong with the TTIP. The so-called regulatory cooperation also renders the European Parliament's freedom meaningless. Regulatory cooperation gives interested parties, in particular large corporations, privileged influence on legislation and was supported by the majority of the Parliament. The report also supports the European Commission's moves towards liberalisation of services. This is the opposite of fair trade. We therefore reject the report.”