The European Parliament today expressed its support for the TTIP trade negotiations between the European Union and the United States.
The resolution adopted today  is the parliament’s unique opportunity to give its opinion on the ongoing trade talks. The result of the vote is a setback for citizens, the environment, and democracy, reacted Friends of the Earth Europe.
Natacha Cingotti, Friends of the Earth Europe trade campaigner, said: “The people of Europe are rightly concerned about the threat TTIP poses to our environment, food, health and social protections – they expected the European Parliament to take a strong stance but MEPs have sided with big business and put democracy at risk by supporting these talks. The parliament has backed dangerous propositions within TTIP such as special privileges for foreign investors and plans to permanently align existing and future rules between Europe and the US which would lead to lower environmental, food and safety standards.
“Ignoring the massive public mobilisation against this dangerous Trojan Horse treaty will only result in strengthening opposition to it.”
Over the last weeks, infighting within the parliament over controversial aspects of the resolution has echoed growing public concern about the transatlantic talks.
Yet the final text agreed today fails to acknowledge these concerns or to clearly call for the exclusion of the most dangerous proposals within the talks. MEPs have failed to come out against:
- Keeping the ‘investor-state dispute settlement’ (ISDS) mechanism in the negotiations. Following a last-minute compromise amendment by President Schulz , the wording fails to challenge the granting of exclusive privileges to foreign investors. It gives a green light to the ISDS mechanism under another name, despite massive public opposition to its inclusion in TTIP.
- The EU Commission’s plan for ‘regulatory cooperation’ under TTIP, despite public criticism and concern about its dangers. EU documents have revealed that regulatory cooperation will shift power away from elected national and EU decision makers towards a transatlantic body of unaccountable bureaucrats, with the power to scrutinise any new piece of legislation at EU or member state level. This would affect the ability of elected decision makers to regulate in the public interest, and unjustifiably increase the administrative burden of law-making.
The next round of negotiations between EU and US negotiating teams will take place next week in Brussels (July 13-17) against a background of growing resistance across Europe.
A self-organised European Citizens’ Initiative calling on EU decision makers to stop the TTIP negotiationshas already collected more than two million signatures.
Hundreds of municipalities have declared themselves ‘TTIP-free’ in opposition to a negotiation in which they are not consulted and that will affect their ability to regulate at the local level if it comes to an agreement.
 The full text of the draft resolution is available here: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=REPORT&reference=A8-2015-0175&language=EN
 The compromise on investor-state dispute settlement reads:
“To ensure that foreign investors are treated in a non-discriminatory fashion while benefitting from no greater rights than domestic investors, and to replace the ISDS-system with a new system for resolving disputes between investors and states which is subject to democratic principles and scrutiny where potential cases are treated in a transparent manner by publicly appointed, independent professional judges in public hearings and which includes an appellate mechanism, where consistency of judicial decisions is ensured, the jurisdiction of courts of the EU and of the Member States is respected and where private interests cannot undermine public policy objectives.”
War on Want
We’ve an action packed update for you as the strongest trade campaign we’ve ever seen continues to build. The secret US-EU trade deal, TTIP (the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership), threatens to undermine regulations which protect society and the environment, lock in and expand privatisation, and open Europe up to litigation from big business in a corporate court system.
A much anticipated and controversial vote on TTIP has just been held at the European Parliament. I’m writing to you from Strasbourg, where the result has just come through. Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) voted to pass the resolution, which gives the green light to the continuing negotiations. However, the vote, which passed by 436 to 241, highlighted serious splits in the European Parliament (EP) on the issue.
The vote took place at the second time of asking: it was originally scheduled to take place in June, but was controversially postponed at the last minute at the request of EP President Martin Schulz, due to fears that the vote would be lost.
War on Want Executive Director John Hilary said: “More than 2.3 million people across Europe are calling for an end to TTIP negotiations in the biggest trade campaign we’ve seen to date. Yet MEPs have chosen to ignore the wishes of their own constituents, siding instead with the business lobby against the people of Europe.
“TTIP offers a nightmare vision of a world sold into corporate slavery. If our elected representatives betray us by backing this vision, we will have no choice but to escalate the campaign.”
In the last few weeks we’ve continued taking our No TTIP message around the country, including getting muddy with the festival-goers at Glastonbury – hundreds of whom signed up to the campaign.
Last week famous artists from the world of film and fashion launched Artists Against TTIP. The group are united in their opposition to the toxic trade deal. Among them are director Mike Leigh, fashion designer Vivienne Westwood, actors Mark Rylance, Helen McCrory, Sam West and David Morrissey.
For a full list of who’s involved and why, check out the group’s website here, where you can see their video (published by the Guardian). Click here to read an article on the group and some of the wider issues around TTIP by Ben Goldsmith in the London Evening Standard.
Thanks to everyone who has got behind this incredible campaign. The public profile and increased pressure is making our MEPs think twice, and ensuring this deal isn’t rubber stamped behind closed doors. We’ve only been able to do so much because of the astonishing public support from people like you.