Parliament Committee adopts a disappointing position on TTIP

By EDRi · May 28, 2015

The European Parliament’s Committee on International Trade (INTA)¬†adopted this morning a position on the planned “Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership” (TTIP) between the United States and the European Union.

“We are delighted with the campaigning activity surrounding this vote,” said Joe McNamee, Executive Director of European Digital Rights. “It is clear that Europe’s citizens will not accept any agreement that prioritises short-term economic interests over fundamental rights. Even if we did not get the outcome we wanted, civil society has made its voice heard. The campaign will be one hundred times bigger when it comes to the real vote – the European Commission and Parliament know this and we are confident that the message is slowly being understood – citizens concerns must be taken into account.”

Current negotiations cover tariffs, standards in a wide range of industrial and service sectors, “regulatory cooperation” for future legislation and the setting up of an “Investor-state dispute settlement ” (ISDS) mechanism, which allows companies to sue governments in front of private arbitral courts. TTIP goes far beyond normal Free Trade Agreements (FTAs), as it contains provisions on standards and legislative harmonisation. This will have an impact on a number of other fields, such as data protection, copyright and surveillance, which could pose a threat to digital civil rights.

We welcome the position INTA took on human rights clauses, and its call for improved transparency, even if they still fail to call for a transparency-by-default approach. The Committee’s acknowledgement of the EU Ombudsman’s position on this issue is also to be welcomed.

However, INTA failed to take a strong position in a number of issues. On ISDS, the Committee’s position does not reflect citizens concerns, nor the advice of their colleagues from the Legal Affairs Commitee (JURI). The same applies to the text adopted on copyright, which is misleading and also fails to take the JURI advice into account.

Finally, on data protection, the position of INTA failed to fully respect the views of the Parliament’s Civil Liberties Committee, which said that data protection standards must not be negotiated in trade agreements.

In the run-up to today’s vote, several parliamentary Committees adopted far more balanced and critical opinions on TTIP. This means that the balance of views in the Parliament are not reflected in today’s outcome. We call on the 751 Members of the European Parliament not to turn their backs on citizens. Vote in Plenary is scheduled for 10 June.

Read more here:
TTIP Resolution: document pool
Infographic: TTIP Resolution
EDRi’s red lines on TTIP
The Lobbyists’ Charter
Legal Affairs Committee: ISDS and IPR must be excluded from TTIP
Data protection and privacy must be excluded from TTIP
Compromise amendments