Today, over 65 public interest organisations and a coalition of farmers’ organisations delivered a letter to European Parliament President Martin Schulz warning that the European Commission continues to ignore critical aspects of the 2015 Parliamentary Resolution that called for reforming the EU-US trade agreement (TTIP). The European Parliament is the only institution of the European Union that has members directly elected by the nearly 500 million citizens of Europe to represent their interests. The campaign, TTIP: Private profit versus public health, remove chemicals from the EU-US trade talks, sent the letter ahead of the 14th round of TTIP negotiations in Brussels next week.
The letter highlights the findings of a new report, which demonstrates that the European Commission has crossed several red lines established by the European Parliament. The report, authored by the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), ClientEarth and the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL), clarifies that the European Commission’s TTIP proposals can affect the more protective EU chemical and pesticide laws, can undermine the EU regulatory system, and fail to respect the jurisdiction of courts of the EU and Member States.
“As it stands, TTIP threatens the EU’s stricter approach on regulating toxic chemicals, which is more precautionary than in the US, in direct contradiction of the European Parliament’s recommendations” says Carroll Muffett, CIEL’s President and CEO.
“The European Commission has failed to follow the European Parliament’s recommendation to fully respect differences between the regulatory systems on both sides of the Atlantic,” adds Génon Jensen, Executive Director at HEAL. “The European Commission has proposed to give the US Government early warning of draft regulatory measures and to enable it to suggest certain legislation. How will opening this door further really protect our health? In Europe we’ve banned 80 pesticides, which are still legal in the US. The US Government has already pressured the EU not to take ambitious measures to protect public health from hormone disrupting chemicals.”
“The European Commission has also ignored the European Parliament’s recommendation on investor-state dispute settlement. The Parliament said any investment provisions must respect the jurisdictions of courts of the EU and Member States,” says Karla Hill, Director of Programs with ClientEarth. “Since the European Commission has failed to implement this recommendation in its latest proposal for an Investment Court System, there are significant doubts whether this proposal is compatible with the EU Treaties.”
“The European Commission is disregarding the expressions of public interest and public will embodied in Parliament’s recommendations to protect democracy, health and the environment,” says David Azoulay, senior attorney and CIEL’s Environmental Health Program director. “Absent an immediate and dramatic reversal of course, the European Commission stands poised to negotiate a proposed TTIP agreement that the European Parliament, the European Member States and the European public cannot, should not and almost certainly will not accept.”
With the next negotiating round planned to start on 11 July, the 65 not-for-profit organizations ask President Schulz to strongly remind the European Commission to listen to the European Parliament’s recommendations, as outlined in last year’s resolution.