Today, the Council of Ministers adopted the mandate for the European Commission to negotiate a trade agreement with the USA. The European Parliament rejected negotiations on the basis of the two mandates on the 24th of March 2019. EU governments have not yet published the current two negotiating mandates, so that they might be scrutinised by the public.
Reinhard Bütikofer, trade spokesperson for the Greens/EFA group and member of the delegation for relations with the USA:
"EU governments have ignored all criticism of the Commission's proposed mandate for transatlantic trade negotiations, without being sure that serious negotiations will take place. The starting positions are very far apart with the US side is insisting on the inclusion of the entire agricultural sector, which the EU has so far categorically ruled out. This comes after the European Parliament rejected the Commission's approach just three weeks ago.
"In the Council, France and Germany are so divided that France is now being outvoted for the first time. The German government seems willing to pay almost any price to avoid tariffs on German car exports. The EU is starting out from a weakened position.
"We need a fair partnership, but not a deal at the expense of the environment and European standards. The Commission and the Council are undermining the EU's negotiating position by trying to avoid a transparent debate out of fear of public opinion. We will help to ensure that this does not happen."