European Parliament TTIP vote cancelled ‘because of huge public pressure’

TTIP

In unusual circumstances, the planned vote on 10 June in the European Parliament on  the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), an EU-US trade deal currently being negotiated, has been postponed. The TTIP resolution was referred back to the committee on the basis of article 175 of the rules of procedure.  Today (10 June), the Parliament decided by 183 votes in favour, 181 against, and 37 abstentions to postpone the debate as well on the basis of article 152. Rapporteur Bernd Lange will hold a press conference at 10h30.

The official line from the Parliament is that because more than 200 amendments were tabled the vote should be postponed to enable the Trade Committee to consider the amendments before tabling them for a future plenary session.

The controversial deal seeks to remove standards and protections that are currently enshrined in laws across the EU and US. Examples of these regulations include labour rights that protect people at work, environmental regulations and food safety laws.

Included in the agreement is a clause called the Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) which many MEPs have warned would allow corporations to sue Governments in secret courts if a government passed laws which limited a corporation’s profits or activity.

More than 2 million EU citizens have signed a petition against the deal.

Keith Taylor, Green MEP for South-East England, said: “The decision to cancel the vote on TTIP stinks of political parties in the European Parliament running scared of the huge public opposition to TTIP.

“TTIP represents a monumental power grab by corporations and it must be stopped in its tracks.”

Molly Scott Cato, Green MEP South-West England, said: “This attempt to remove the right of all MEPs to vote on this very important report on TTIP is nothing short of a scandal. Thousands of constituents have emailed me today and I will not be cheated of my right to represent their will to oppose ISDS and the undermining of European protection of environments and animal welfare.”

However, speaking to EU Reporter today, Bulgarian MEP Nicolay Barekov defended the decision to not hold the TTIP debate.

“There had not been enough time for.discussions – members needed more information before they could take a decision,” he said. Asked how he felt this would affect EU relations with the US, he added: “Once the EU has debated all the issues and has made a sensible decision, we will then be able to negotiate with our American friends. This will open up the largest free market,  which will be good both for the US and for Europe. It is crucial for both the US and EU to agree on this co-operation.”

TTIP: Rapporteur Lange welcomes postponement of vote

European Parliament President Martin Schulz decided on Tuesday (9 June) to postpone the plenary vote on the European Parliament recommendations to the negotiators of the Transatlantic trade and investment partnership (TTIP), scheduled for noon the following day. In line with Rule 175 of the EP Rules of Procedure, he decided to refer the 116 amendments tabled to the report back to the Committee on International Trade, for consideration and a vote on whether they are to be put to a plenary vote.

In a message to all MEPs, Mr Schulz cited the fact that more than 200 amendments and requests for split or separate votes had been tabled to the Lange report in plenary. He asked the committee to meet in order to consider those amendments and requests.

“We respect President Schulz’s decision and will continue the work on the TTIP-resolution in the Trade Committee. We will use the additional time we gained to work towards reaching a stable majority for the TTIP-resolution. The EP can only come forward with a strong message for the TTIP negotiators if our resolution is supported by a broad majority”, said the rapporteur and EP Trade Committee chair Bernd Lange (S&D, DE).

The Committee on International Trade next meets on 15-16 June in Brussels.

McClarkin: Socialists have failed to deliver TTIP vote

The European Parliament’s President has – hours before the plenary vote – sent the report on the EU-US trade and investment partnership back to the trade committee after the socialist group descended into chaos over the line it would take.

Responding to the news, European Conservatives and Reformists Group trade spokesman Emma McClarkin MEP, said: “The decision to postpone this vote is very disappointing. The parliament was ready to vote on its position but President Schulz has pulled the vote in order to save the socialist group’s blushes.

“The socialists agreed a reasonable compromise position in the parliament’s trade committee but their leaders have failed to take their MEPs along with them. This is a socialist shambles that started when they backed out of agreements made in good faith.

“We will continue to argue that an EU-US trade deal has the potential to bring real benefits to consumers and small businesses across Europe. It is time for the socialists to tell us what they believe.”

Schulz on postponement of vote on TTIP resolution

“After consultations with group leaders and the rapporteur and in accordance with Rule 175 of the Rules of Procedure, I decided to postpone the vote on the TTIP resolution to give more time to the International Trade Committee to further reflect on the outstanding issues and to reduce as much as possible the large number of amendments tabled.

“I requested this to defend and advance the position of the European Parliament as a whole on a crucial issue. The Commission is negotiating an agreement of global importance with the United States. The European Parliament needs to contribute with a clear and unequivocal position. What we should have is a strong text by the European Parliament and what we should avoid is that  Parliament adopts a resolution which is neither here or there, or, even worse, is not able to adopt a resolution.

“By failing to adopt a strong text on this dossier, the European Parliament would weaken its power on one of its key, hard-fought prerogatives.

“For these reasons I have decided to give an additional opportunity to the International Trade Committee to reflect on this crucial and far-reaching issue. I am sure that the next weeks can be put to good use for this purpose.

“This morning, in accordance with Rule 152 of the Rules of Procedure, I put it to the plenary to decide democratically whether the Members wanted to also postpone the debate on TTIP to move it closer to the vote and a majority of MEPs did so.”

TTIP: What exactly is the ISDS mechanism for resolving investor disputes?

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Category: A Frontpage, EU, European Parliament, Featured Article, Greens, Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), US