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Irish Parliament may not get vote on EU-US Trade deal – Carthy

25 March, 2015 - by Matt Carthy MEP

Commenting today on a recent response received by the European Commission in relation to the process for ratification of the TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands North West Constituency Matt Carthy stated that the Commission response is unclear as to whether National Parliaments will be given a vote on the deal.

Carthy said:

“The response of the European Commission does not clearly set out if there is a role for national parliaments in the ratification of the TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), which according to some commentators could be concluded as early as late 2015.

“It is only if the final deal is determined to be a “mixed agreement” then it will require the ratification of all national parliaments in order to come into force.

“This decision will be made by the European Council of Ministers and will only be made once the final agreement is concluded, on a proposal by the European Commission.

“Previously, the Council of Ministers overruled the European Commission proposal to treat Free Trade Agreements with Peru and Columbia as within EU competence and it appears likely that TTIP will be also considered in a similar fashion.

“Despite this, the European Commission may still choose to bring the Agreement into force on a provisional basis pending national ratification as it has done in the past with free trade agreements with Ukraine, Peru and Colombia.

“The fact that the national Parliaments of the EU may not have a say in the ratification of one of the largest trade deals ever to be negotiated on behalf of their people is frankly terrifying and clearly highlights the growing democratic deficit within the European Union structures.

“Given the potential far reaching societal and economic ramifications of this agreement, it is vitally important that the Irish people put sufficient pressure on the Irish Government to exert whatever limited influence they have at a European level to ensure that, not only the interests of Ireland are fully protected but that the formal ratification by the Irish Parliament will be required before the deal comes into force.”ENDS

Full Text of Question and Response below:

Question for written answer E-010028/2014

to the Commission

Rule 130

Matt Carthy (GUE/NGL), Lynn Boylan (GUE/NGL) and Martina Anderson (GUE/NGL)

Subject:         TTIP negotiation and ratification

Can the Commissioner for Trade clarify the process for the negotiation and ratification of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) by the EU, in particular the following:

1.      The process for ratification at both Council and Parliament level, specifically outlining whether the TTIP is considered a mixed agreement and whether the whole agreement will require ratification by the national parliaments.

2.      The role of the Regulatory Cooperation Council in relation to the TTIP negotiations, and the remit of this council to amend the agreement after ratification.



Answer given by Ms Malmström

on behalf of the Commission


After a text is finalised, initialled and translated, the Commission submits a proposal on the signature and conclusion of the agreement to the Council.  After the agreement is formally signed, the Council transmits the agreement to the European Parliament for consent, which decides by a vote in plenary.  If an agreement also requires ratification by Member States, this will happen in accordance with their respective constitutional requirements, which means that it will have to be approved by their national Parliament.

Regarding mixity, the Commission's consistent position is that the nature of every international agreement, and hence every trade agreement, and whether it is to be concluded as EU-only or mixed, depends on its content.  When it comes to TTIP[1], the Commission will reflect this determination in its proposal for signature of the agreement.  This will therefore only take place once the agreement is finalised and initialled.

A regulatory cooperation body would be a forum to monitor the implementation of provisions agreed in TTIP, and to jointly prioritise new areas for regulatory cooperation as they arise in the future.  It would not have any power to amend the agreement after ratification or any autonomous regulatory powers, as regulators on both sides will remain fully subject to domestic oversight as provided for in their respective legal systems. In particular, the European Parliament would fully retain its role as co-legislator with Council.

[1]     The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership

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