TTIP Might Be Subject to Approval by National Parliaments

Written by | Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

A giant free trade agreement between the European Union and the United States known as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) ought to be subject to approval by national parliaments before it becomes a law, national deputies have said to the European Commission. This requirement is included in the letter that was sent last week to EU trade commissioner, Karel de Gucht, which was signed by parliaments of 16 out of 28 member states, including the EU’s biggest economies, Germany, France, and the UK. This move is a result of mounting fears that the EU Commission enjoys too much freedom in negotiating the block’s trade deals.
For instance, the letter singles out the tentatively-agreed trade agreement with Canada, Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), as well as ongoing talks on with Washington on TTIP. The letter claims that these are examples of agreements that transcend EU competencies and should be therefore subject to ratification by national parliaments. Yet, based on the Lisbon treaty, the EU executive is the only body in charge of negotiating trade deals on behalf of EU countries. All such trade deals must be then ratified by MEPs in the European Parliament.
The letter opposes this notion saying that “free trade agreements should be considered as mixed agreements, since they concern policy areas which are within the competences of the member states. Namely, for CETA and TTIP, the letter argues that “this is the case for policy areas such as services, transport and investor protection.” France and Germany have already implied that, for instance, investor protection rules that potentially enable firms to take legal action against governments, should be left in the hands of national courts. Thus, the 16 signees of the letter sent to Commissioner de Gucht demand that trade deals to be reviewed at the end of talks, whether they can be entirely covered by the EU Commission or should be discussed also at the national level. The relatively recently agreed EU-South Korea free trade agreement was classified as a “mixed agreement” demanding ratification by all EU members.

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