25th Mar 2018

National MPs could block US trade deal, activists say

  • Port of New York: Could national parliaments shoot down a trade deal with the US? (Photo: Niklas-B)

Opponents of an EU-US trade agreement hope that national parliaments will shoot down an accord, and their hopes will have been buoyed by a new study suggesting that a deal will likely need a seal of approval from domestic lawmakers.

A study by the Institute of Law at the University of Cologne, commissioned by the Stop TTIP campaign, and published earlier this week, finds that in all member states except for Malta, a parliamentary approval process would be necessary to sign TTIP, and the provisionally-agreed trade deal with Canada - (known as CETA) - into law.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The study also finds that half of the EU’s 28 parliaments would be able to instigate a referendum on the trade deals if they wished, although there is little precedent for plebiscites to be held to approve free trade deals.

Both TTIP and CETA are likely to be considered as 'mixed agreements' because they deal with both EU and national powers, making them both subject to ratification by domestic parliaments.

Under EU rules, the European Commission is solely responsible for negotiating trade agreements on the EU's behalf but its mandate is dictated by national governments.

For their part, a number of senior legislators across various national parliaments have already urged the Commission to officially classify TTIP as a ‘mixed agreement’, like the accord agreed with South Korea back in 2011.

The demand was spelt out in a letter sent last summer to former EU trade commissioner Karel de Gucht, signed by parliaments in 16 of the EU's 28 countries, including France, Germany and the UK.

Although EU and US officials are keen to agree a deal before the end of Barack Obama’s second term as US President in January 2017, negotiations have taken longer than expected, increasing the hopes of opponents of a trade accord that the political momentum behind it will collapse.

Speaking with reporters last week, David Martin MEP, the spokesman for the centre-left Socialist group in the European Parliament, and a supporter of TTIP, said he was “pretty convinced that this European Parliament [which will last until 2019] will not vote on TTIP. “

In the US, the procedural passage of TTIP is set to be very quick after Congress backed the Obama administration’s Trade Promotion Authority bill which allows the president to negotiate trade deals without consulting legislators. Like MEPs, members of the US Senate would have a single vote on whether to ratify or veto an agreement.

Nonetheless, TTIP's passage through the EU assembly is already looking tough. A compromise allowing the parliament’s main groups to endorse the continuation of talks and a future agreement was only secured last month when it included a demand to replace the controversial existing regime on investor protection - known as investor state dispute settlement (ISDS) - with a new EU proposal for a permanent, and public arbitration panel.

A series of national ratification processes, of potentially varying levels of complexity, will add to the obstacles facing TTIP's ratification.

Commission sticks to its line on Barroso case

In a letter to a coalition of transparency NGOs, the EU executive has repeated that a meeting between its former boss - now working for Goldman Sachs - and the current vice president was "fully in line" with the rules.

EU rejects US trade 'gun to the head'

EU leaders demanded a permanent exemption from US tariffs on steel and aluminium - and ruled out any bilateral trade talks within the 1 May deadline set by Donald Trump.

EU rejects US trade 'gun to the head'

EU leaders demanded a permanent exemption from US tariffs on steel and aluminium - and ruled out any bilateral trade talks within the 1 May deadline set by Donald Trump.

News in Brief

  1. EU wants 'Paris' climate strategy within 13 months
  2. Workload of EU court remains high
  3. Spain's supreme court charges Catalan separatist leaders
  4. EU calls for 'permanent' exemption from US tariffs
  5. Summit backs guidelines for future EU-UK talks
  6. Macron support drops as public sector workers go on strike
  7. EU leaders condemn Turkey for illegal actions in Aegean Sea
  8. Parliament must publish 'trilogue' documents, court says

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EUobserverStart a Career in EU Media. Apply Now to Become Our Next Sales Associate
  2. EUobserverHiring - Finance Officer With Accounting Degree or Experience - Apply Now!
  3. ECR GroupAn Opportunity to Help Shape a Better Future for Europe
  4. Counter BalanceControversial Turkish Azerbaijani Gas Pipeline Gets Major EU Loan
  5. World VisionSyria’s Children ‘At Risk of Never Fully Recovering', New Study Finds
  6. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMeets with US Congress Member to Denounce Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  7. Martens CentreEuropean Defence Union: Time to Aim High?
  8. UNESDAWatch UNESDA’s President Toast Its 60th Anniversary Year
  9. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Condemns MEP Ana Gomes’s Anti-Semitic Remark, Calls for Disciplinary Action
  10. EPSUEU Commissioners Deny 9.8 Million Workers Legal Minimum Standards on Information Rights
  11. ACCAAppropriate Risk Management is Crucial for Effective Strategic Leadership
  12. EPSUWill the Circular Economy be an Economy With no Workers?

Latest News

  1. Nordic states discuss targeted Russia sanctions
  2. Commission sticks to its line on Barroso case
  3. Germany and France promise new Russia sanctions
  4. EU rejects US trade 'gun to the head'
  5. Tariffs and Turkey will top This WEEK
  6. EU leaders roll over Brexit talks amid Trump and Russia fears
  7. Europe needs corporate tax reform - a digital tax isn't it
  8. EU data chiefs rally behind UK over Cambridge Analytica