Friday

26th Aug 2016

EU-US trade deal must have national approval, say MPs

  • National parliaments have expressed concern at the scope of the EU-US trade talks encroaching on domestic policy areas. (Photo: dawvon)

A landmark free trade agreements between the EU and US should be subject to approval by national parliaments before it can become law, national deputies have told the European Commission.

The demand is contained in a letter sent last week to EU trade commissioner Karel de Gucht, signed by parliaments in 16 of the EU's 28 countries, including France, Germany and the UK.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The move is the latest sign of wariness among lawmakers about the scope enjoyed by the EU executive in drawing up trade deals on behalf of the bloc.

In particular, the letter singles out the provisionally-agreed trade deal with Canada (known as CETA) and ongoing talks with the US on a trade and investment partnership (TTIP) as accords should be considered as 'mixed agreements' because they deal with both EU and national competences and so subject to ratification by domestic parliaments.

Under the terms of the Lisbon treaty, the European Commission is solely responsible for negotiating trade agreements on the EU's behalf. All trade deals then need the consent of MEPs to be ratified.

"Free trade agreements should be considered as mixed agreements, since they concern policy areas which are within the competences of the member states," the letter states.

"For CETA and TTIP...this is the case for policy areas such as services, transport and investor protection."

The French and German governments have already indicated that investor protection rules potentially allowing companies to take legal action against governments should be left in the hands of national courts.

Trade agreements are to be reviewed at the end of the negotiations, whether it is entirely covered by EU competence or also contains chapters which fall under national competence.

The recently agreed EU-South Korea free trade deal was classified as a 'mixed agreement', requiring ratification by all EU countries.

For his part, De Gucht has indicated that he will seek to clarify the legal boundaries of trade policy under Lisbon through an opinion from the Luxembourg-based European Court of Justice.

"Such a move would be in the utmost interest of all national and EU institutions to receive legal clarity for the ratification process for all EU trade agreements in the future," EU Trade spokesman John Clancy told EUobserver. He added that De Gucht would give the letter "his highest attention and reply soon".

National ratifications would inevitably lead to slower approval of agreements, although the average EU trade agreement already takes more than three years to negotiate.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EFASpain is not a democratic state. EFA expresses its solidarity to Arnaldo Otegi and EH Bildu
  2. UNICEFBoko Haram Violence in Lake Chad Region Leaves Children Displaced and Trapped
  3. HuaweiMaking Cities Smarter and Safer
  4. GoogleHow Google Makes Connections More Secure For Users
  5. EGBAThe EU Court of Justice Confirms the Application of Proportionality in Assessing Gambling Laws
  6. World VisionThe EU and Member States Must Not Use Overseas Aid for Promoting EU Interests
  7. Dialogue PlatformInterview: "There is a witch hunt against the Gulen Movement in Turkey"
  8. ACCAACCA Calls for ‘Future Looking’ Integrated Reporting Culture With IIRC and IAAER
  9. EURidNominate Your Favourite .eu or .ею Website for the .EU Web Awards 2016 Today!
  10. Dialogue PlatformAn Interview on Gulen Movement & Recent Coup Attempt in Turkey
  11. GoogleA Little Bird Told us to Start Tweeting About Google’s Work Across Europe. Learn More @GoogleBrussels
  12. Counter BalanceThe Trans Adriatic Pipeline: An Opportunity or a Scam in the Making for Albania?

Latest News

  1. Italy earthquake is test for Renzi
  2. Let's fix EU copyright law, for innovation and creativity online
  3. French government tries to defuse burkini row
  4. EU to Turkey: Do you really want to join?
  5. US slams EU competition policies
  6. French diesel committee 'did not cover up for Renault'
  7. EU backs Greek ex-data chief over criminal charges
  8. EU must step up migrant relocation, say Italy and Greece