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Crowe welcomes Ombudsman’s opinion on Trade Agreement Transparency

9 January, 2015 - by Seán Crowe TD

Sinn Féin TD Seán Crowe, a member of the Oireachtas European Affairs Committee, has welcomed European Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly considered opinion that supports the call for greater public access to the negotiating texts in the ongoing Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) Agreement Documents.

Crowe said he has tried to raise the veil of secrecy surrounding the ongoing trade negotiations on a number of occasions in the discussions in the Dáil and said that European secrecy contrasted with the American authorities who appeared to be “much more open to scrutiny and information to their constituent organizations about the current negotiations, their implications and the possible impact the agreement will have on different sectors.

Deputy Seán Crowe said;

“In July last year, Emily O’Reilly began her investigations into transparency or the lack of in the TTIP negotiations and in response to the huge levels of concern by Civil Society groups regarding the complete lack of any real information  on the ongoing negotiations.

“Her public consultation on the issue received a response of over 6,000 emails, which is indicative of the growing level of interest and concern on the matter.

“The Ombudsman has now issued a report calling for the European Commission to implement a number of measures which would enhance the transparency of the TTIP negotiations and provide European citizens with the means to access key TTIP Documents.

“The Ombudsman has also called on the commission to be more open and publish meeting agendas and records of meetings it holds with lobby groups including submissions from stakeholders in relation to TTIP. This would appear to be in response to a growing concern that big business has effectively had an inside seat at the TTIP negotiating table to the possible detriment of the public.

“The European secrecy approach seems to be at odds and contrasts differently with the American Authorities who appear to be much more open to scrutiny and releasing information to their constituent organizations about the current negotiations, the possible implications and the impact the trade agreement will have on different sectors.

“I warmly welcome this timely report, which reflects many of the concerns that I have personally raised privately and publicly in various meetings, in and outside the Dáil.

“Emily O Reilly’s report exposes the perceived lack of any transparency and the secretive nature of the current negotiations and I commend her for her work on this important matter.

“The current approach of the European Commission to the TTIP negotiations is clearly out of step and the Commission needs to respond positively and implement the considered opinion of the European Ombudsman and adopt a different more enlightened approach.”


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