MEPs Accused Of ‘Betraying The European People’ On TTIP Vote

John Hilary of War On Want

John Hilary of War On Want

There is confusion in the campaign against TTIP this week on the deal struck by Labour and SD MEPs last week on TTIP and the ISDS mechanism. Earlier this week we published a blog by Jude Kirton Darling Labour MEP, setting out the reasons for reaching an agreement on ISDS. However the deal has faced considerable criticism from a number of quarters including the campaigning organisation War On Want. We republish War On Want’s statement which sets out the organisations concerns on the MEP’s stance on TTIP this week.

The voice of the European people was ignored today when members of the European Parliament’s trade committee agreed a resolution backing the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) for the full parliament to vote on next month.

The vote flies in the face of European public opinion, with almost two million people signing a European Citizens’ Initiative opposing the secretive EU-US trade deal.

The full European Parliament will now vote on the compromise text at its next plenary in Strasbourg during the week of 8 June.

War on Want Executive Director John Hilary said: “Millions of people across Europe have said no to TTIP, in the strongest trade campaign we have ever seen. Yet MEPs have turned their backs on their own constituents, choosing instead to side with the business lobbyists of Brussels. This is an outright betrayal of the European people, and we shall not forget it.”

MEPs also backed the European Commission’s controversial proposal for an ‘investor-state dispute settlement’ (ISDS) system, which grants privileged powers to foreign corporations.

The text presented by committee chairperson Bernd Lange at the eleventh hour dropped a key phrase rejecting the use of ISDS, and supported instead the new proposals for ISDS in TTIP introduced by EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström earlier this month.

Lange was publicly criticised by other MEPs for the procedure adopted in pushing through his support for ISDS.

There have been a slew of publicised ISDS cases highlighting how corporations have sued states for laws protecting public health and the environment, among others.

ISDS was removed from TTIP negotiations in January 2014. The European Commission later conducted a public consultation which received a record 150,000 responses, over 97% of which were against ISDS.

The European Commission’s consultation on TTIP was completed in July 2014; to see the results, visit here.

John Hilary’s blog for the New Internationalist previewing today’s vote is available here.

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