Wednesday

20th Jun 2018

TTIP by end of 2015, EU leaders pledge

  • An EU-US trade deal would not 'threaten European values' - Juncker (Photo: europarl.europa.eu)

EU leaders have given negotiators until the end of 2015 to conclude talks on a trade deal with the United States following the final summit of 2014 in Brussels.

Wrapping up on Thursday night (18 December), leaders in a joint communique said “the EU and the US should make all efforts to conclude negotiations on an ambitious, comprehensive and mutually beneficial TTIP by the end of 2015”.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... our join as a group

“The aim is still 2015”, commission president Jean-Claude Juncker told reporters at the post-summit press conference.

EU and US trade officials will gather in Washington in February for the next round of talks, on a deal which the European Commission estimates could be worth as much as €100 billion extra to the EU’s GDP.

Talks on the transatlantic trade and investment partnership (TTIP) have progressed in most areas, with both sides tabling offers to remove almost all remaining tariff barriers and proposing to harmonise standards.

But the anti-TTIP campaign has gained popular strength over the course of 2014.

The status of investor protection clauses has become one of the most hotly disputed issues in the talks.

Critics say that a mechanism known as investor state dispute settlement (ISDS) could be used by companies to take legal action against governments if they put public welfare before profits.

The commission parked the issue by opening a public consultation on ISDS at the start of the year and won't take a decision on whether ISDS can be included in the talks until next spring.

Prior to the summit, UK prime minister David Cameron held talks with business leaders and the prime ministers of Italy, Spain, Denmark, Poland, Latvia and Finland on how to “bust some of the myths that are being put around," on the proposed deal.

Cameron has come under pressure to ensure that Britain's publicly-run national health service would not be threatened.

For his part, Juncker insisted that EU negotiators would “remain faithful to the principles of Europe”.

“This will not end up with Europe jettisoning a number of principles to which we are attached, in particular, public services,” he said, adding that “public services will not be sidelined … in the same way that water will not be privatised”.

But for her part, trade commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom is adopting a more cautious tone.

Speaking earlier on Thursday in Geneva, she told reporters that “having a full deal ready to put to member states by the end of 2015 is probably not realistic.”

The closer that the talks get to the next US presidential elections in November 2016, the more likely that a deal will be kicked into the long grass by US political leaders.

Both the US Congress and the European Parliament would have to ratify any trade agreement before it could come into force.

Magazine

TTIP's teflon coat wears thin

The prospect of an EU-US trade agreement was one of relatively few sources of comfort for EU lawmakers about the bloc's struggling economy in 2013.

Opinion

Put aside ideology when it comes to TTIP

The potential impact of the US free trade deal on ordinary people's lives should be measured using analytical tools, not ideology, Portugal's junior minister for Europe says.

News in Brief

  1. Merkel and Macron agree on eurozone budget
  2. Report: EU to look at outsourcing asylum
  3. EU court orders Le Pen to repay EU parliament
  4. Commission needs time to assess German Dieselgate fine
  5. Merkel and Macron meet over migration and eurozone
  6. Salvini plans census of Roma communities
  7. Slovenia to take Croatia to court in border row
  8. Parliamentary setback over corruption in Romania

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  2. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMHRMI Launches Lawsuits Against Individuals and Countries Involved in Changing Macedonia's Name
  3. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  4. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  6. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  8. Mission of China to the EUChina: Work Together for a Better Globalisation
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordics Could Be First Carbon-Negative Region in World
  10. European Federation of Allergy and AirwaysLife Is Possible for Patients with Severe Asthma
  11. PKEE - Polish Energy AssociationCommon-Sense Approach Needed for EU Energy Reform
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to Lead in Developing and Rolling Out 5G Network

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us