Thursday

27th Jun 2019

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.

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.

... or join as a group

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.

Exclusive

EU moves to end car-testing 'confidentiality clause'

The EU Commission will now spend €3.4m next year to rent cars for emissions testing - after EUobserver revealed that models loaned by the manufacturer were then subject to commercial confidentiality clauses.

EU parliament gives extra time for leaders on top jobs

The EU parliament might allow an extra 24 hours for EU heads of government to first come up with the new EU leadership names. Meanwhile, EPP lead candidate Manfred Weber is meeting Angela Merkel and AKK in Berlin for backing.

Opinion

EU-Vietnam trade deal a bad day for workers' rights

Behind the smiles and handshakes, the signature of the EU-Vietnam trade and investment deals agreed on Tuesday and to be signed this week have dire consequences for human well-being and our ability to prevent climate and ecological breakdown.

News in Brief

  1. EU warns Turkey as 'Gezi Park' trials begin
  2. EU universities to share students, curricula
  3. Migrant rescue ship loses Human Rights Court appeal
  4. Denmark completes social democrat sweep of Nordics
  5. Johnson offers 'do or die' pledge on Brexit
  6. Weber indirectly attacks Macron in newspaper op-ed
  7. EU to sign free trade deal with Vietnam
  8. EU funding of air traffic control 'largely unnecessary'

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  4. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  6. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  7. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  8. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  9. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate

Latest News

  1. EU moves to end car-testing 'confidentiality clause'
  2. EU parliament gives extra time for leaders on top jobs
  3. Europe's rights watchdog lifts Russia sanctions
  4. EU-Vietnam trade deal a bad day for workers' rights
  5. EU 'special envoy' going to US plan for Palestine
  6. Polish judicial reforms broke EU law, court says
  7. EU study: no evidence of 'East vs West' food discrimination
  8. Russia tried to stir up Irish troubles, US think tank says

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us