Tuesday

28th Mar 2017

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”.

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 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.

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.

Investigation

How the Italian mafia found a Dutch home

One of the biggest mafia trials in Europe in recent years is about to end. Members of the Crupi clan are accused of smuggling vast amounts of cocaine from South America to Italy, using the Netherlands as their main hub.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Belgrade Security ForumCall for Papers: European Union as a Global Crisis Manager - Deadline 30 April
  2. European Gaming & Betting Association60 Years Rome Treaty – 60 Years Building an Internal Market
  3. Malta EU 2017New EU Rules to Prevent Terrorism and Give More Rights to Victims Approved
  4. European Jewish Congress"Extremists Still Have Ability and Motivation to Murder in Europe" Says EJC President
  5. European Gaming & Betting AssociationAudiovisual Media Services Directive to Exclude Minors from Gambling Ads
  6. ILGA-EuropeTime for a Reality Check on International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
  7. UNICEFHuman Cost to Refugee and Migrant Children Mounts Up One Year After EU-Turkey Deal
  8. Malta EU 2017Council Adopts New Rules to Improve Safety of Medical Devices
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Energy Research: How to Reach 100 Percent Renewable Energy
  10. Party of European SocialistsWe Must Renew Europe for All Europeans
  11. MEP Tomáš ZdechovskýThe European Commission Has Failed in Its Fight Against Food Waste
  12. ILGA-EuropeEP Recognises Discrimination Faced by Trans & Intersex People