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Berlin, 3 July 2013
Statement by President Barroso on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership
At the press conference after the Berlin Round Table on Youth Employment on 3 July 2013 and following a short coordination meeting among participants President Barroso answered a question of a journalist on the impact of the alleged U.S. surveillance of the EU on the start of negotiations of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) as follows:
"Regarding the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, let's be clear – both the European Union and the United States have a strong interest in successfully concluding the planned TTIP. TTIP opens a huge potential for both sides. Negotiations on TTIP are and will remain top priority.
In parallel, it is important to address concerns that have been clearly expressed on the European side on some intelligence activities and also on the implication for privacy and data protection at European level.
So what I can say we have agreed today is the following: we are committed to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, but we expect that in parallel we have work in the EU-US working groups that will analyse the oversight of the intelligence activities, intelligence collection and also the question of privacy and data protection.
In a recent letter to the Commissioners responsible for some of these issues, namely data protection, the Attorney General of the United States, Eric Holder, wrote to Viviane Reding and Cecilia Malmström that the United States are ready, as soon as possible, to create these groups to analyse these matters. So now we expect that as soon as possible these EU-US groups which will comprise from European side of course not only the Commission, but experts on intelligence matters from the Member States, meet as soon as possible so that we can, I repeat in parallel, make progress. Because in fact this Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership is of major importance, it is a very ambitious one. For it to be a success, we need confidence among partners and confidence can come better if there is a clarification of some issues that are of very serious concern at European level.
I am happy to say that the other European institutions here represented, and of course France and Germany, have fully supported this approach. This is the approach that the Commission will pursue. As you know, according to the Treaties, this issue [trade negotiations] is a Commission responsibility. The European Commission has received a mandate from the Member States to start this negotiation. We will fully respect the mandate, but the timing of meetings, the way to handle negotiations, is a European Union, a Community responsibility and the European Commission will deliver on that. I am happy to see that there is a full support to this approach because there are very important matters of concern also for the European Union institutions and for our Member States."
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