At a public hearing on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) today, the Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament vowed they will closely oversee the negotiation process and make sure that any final agreement benefits citizens.
S&D president Hannes Swoboda said:
“There are many figures circulating about how many jobs and how much growth the partnership could trigger. However, I am sceptical about figures. I am sure that such an agreement between these two partners – who together account for almost half of the world's GDP – can open many possibilities for EU workers and small businesses, provided that EU standards – in terms of fundamental rights, labour rights, environment, health, access to public services – are guaranteed across the Atlantic.
“We the Socialists and Democrats want transparent negotiations where the Parliament and citizens can have a say. And then we, as policymakers, will decide responsibly whether to accept or reject the agreement. And we will certainly never accept an agreement that undermines the core rights of our citizens.
“Regarding the controversial investor-state dispute resolution mechanism (ISDS), we think this should not be necessary between two partners with solid judicial systems.”
S&D vice-president Véronique de Keyser said:
“We need to sort out the truths and the myths about TTIP. Many rumours are circulating which are not true. It is not true that everything is being negotiated in secret or that we are not informed. MEPs on the Parliament's international trade committee in the Parliament are informed.
“At the same time there are many things that separate the United States and the European Union, and it will be difficult to bridge that gap. In particular, we don’t want to see these differences solved through deregulation.
“I am also concerned about any negative influence of the American private educational system affecting public education in the European Union. In my country training for adults is a public service and this is something we must protect.
“The negotiations have just begun. This is the beginning of the work that we will all have to do on both sides of the Atlantic.
“Any decision on TTIP, either for or against, will only be possible with the active participation of civil society. Only with civil society will the key battles be won in the European Parliament. And, through meetings and conferences like this one, the S&D Group will continue to be closely engaged in the decision-making process and in informing citizens.”