The European Commission today published a raft of texts setting outEU proposals for legal text in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) it is negotiating with the US. This is the first time the Commission has made public such proposals in bilateral trade talks and reflects its commitment to greater transparency in the negotiations.
'I'm delighted that we can start the new year by clearly demonstrating through our actions the commitment we made to greater transparency just over a month ago,' said EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström. 'Today's publication of our specific legal proposals in the context of TTIP marks another first in EU trade policy.'
The so-called 'textual proposals' published today set out the EU’s specific proposals for legal text that has been tabled in the proposed TTIP. They set out actual language and binding commitments which the EU would like to see in the parts of the agreement covering regulatory and rules issues. The eight EU textual proposals cover competition, food safety and animal and plant health, customs issues, technical barriers to trade, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and government-to-government dispute settlement (GGDS, not to be confused with ISDS). Today, the Commission has also published TTIP position papers explaining the EU's approach on engineering, vehicles, and sustainable development, bringing the total number of position papers it has made public up to 15.
To make the online documents more accessible to the non-expert, the Commission is also publishing a 'Reader's Guide', explaining what each text means. It is also issuing a glossary of terms and acronyms, and a series of factsheets setting out in plain language what is at stake in each chapter of TTIP and what the EU's aims are in each area.
'I'm particularly pleased that we're including explanations in non-technical language to go alongside the legal texts,' said Malmström. 'It's important that everyone can see and understand what we're proposing in TTIP and – just as importantly – what we're not.'
Although today's publication is the first time the Commission has published specific EU legal proposals while negotiating a bilateral trade agreement, it has already posted numerous documents online setting out its position in TTIP on a wide range of issues. In line with its determination to make EU trade policy more transparent, the Commission intends to publish further texts and proposals in the course of the negotiations, as they become available.
Link to the texts published today: http://ec.europa.eu/trade/ttip-texts/
Today's move is an example of how the Commission is putting into practice its commitment made last November to inject more transparency into the TTIP negotiations. The Commission then undertook to:
- make public more TTIP EU negotiating texts that the Commission shares with Member States and the European Parliament;
- provide access to the EU’s TTIP negotiating texts to all Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), not just a select few, by extending access to EU restricted documents in a 'reading room' to those MEPs who had no access to such restricted documents so far;
- classify fewer TTIP negotiating documents as 'EU restricted', thus making them more easily accessible to MEPs outside the reading room;
- publish and update on a regular basis a public list of TTIP documents shared with the European Parliament and the Council.
- publish information about who meets its political leaders and senior officials.
The 12 position papers already published cover financial services, public procurement, regulatory coherence, technical barriers to trade, food safety and animal and plant health, chemicals, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, textiles, vehicles, sustainable development, and energy and raw materials.
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