European Commission has failed to implement Ombudsman’s TTIP Recommendation – Carthy
Speaking today after he received a response from the European Commission to his questioning of the refusal to publish key texts concerning ongoing trade negotiations between the EU and the US, Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands North West, Matt Carthy has stated that the Commission has failed to comply with a key recommendation of the European Ombudsman.
“The response of the European Commission states that the document setting out the position of the EU in relation to key aspects of the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations, such as public procurement, will not be made public.
“This is despite the fact that the European Ombudsman, Emily O’Reilly, made a recommendation on 7th January 2015 that there should be greater public access to the key documents of the trade deal with the US.
“Given the scale of the negotiations between two of the world’s largest economies, which will have a huge social and economic impact across Europe, the level of public interest is unprecedented and the own initiative investigation by the Ombudsman received 315 submissions and over 6000 emails by way of public consultation
“The simple fact of the matter is that the European public have a fundamental right to access those documents, to know what deals the European Commission is making on our behalf and which lobby groups have been given an inside track on these negotiations.
“It is little wonder that so many people across Europe are sceptical of the European Commission’s approach to the negotiations when it has dragged its feet in implementing the measured recommendation of the Ombudsman in full.
“It is high time the European Commission put a stop to the excuses and complies with the recommendations without further delay if it is to have any hope of maintaining the trust of the European people to conclude these talks on their behalf. For their part the Dublin government must too begin to act in the best interests of the Irish people by demanding full transparency throughout the TTIP negotiations.”
Text of Question and Response Below:
Question for written answer E-000928/2015
to the Commission
Matt Carthy (GUE/NGL)
Subject: Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) - textual proposal
1. Can the Commission indicate the date on which the textual proposals in relation to market access, specifically as regards trade in goods and customs duties and public procurement, in the TTIP negotiations will become available?
2. By what means does the Commission plan to release these proposals?
Answer given by Ms Malmström
on behalf of the Commission
To date the Commission has already made public several textual proposals related to TTIP, and will continue to do so. However, in its communication on TTIP transparency of 25 November 2014 (COM (2014) 9052), the Commission made clear that some elements of the negotiations need to remain confidential and that certain documents, such as the market access offers related to tariffs or public procurement, can not be made public. In any negotiation, the Commission needs to build trust with its partners, and to do so it needs a degree of confidentiality, during the negotiation process so that the EU can best protect its interests. Therefore, documents related to market access offers are only shared with EU governments and Parliament in line with their respective roles under the EU Treaty with respect to trade, and not with the public at large.
At the end of the negotiation, the Commission will make available on its website the whole deal for full public scrutiny, before Member States and the Parliament take a decision on whether to approve it.