On Wednesday, July 8th, the European Parliament adopted a Resolution on the ongoing negotiations for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). The European Parliament has no formal power while trade negotiations are ongoing, but it has the power to veto any trade deal if and when negotiations are concluded. In order to influence the TTIP negotiations at this stage, Labour MEPs have been pushing the European Parliament to set out what we will and won't accept in the final TTIP text if and when it is adopted. That is what this Resolution (also known as the Lange Report) is for, and it is one of the most significant means at our disposal to ensure that TTIP negotiators take the public’s concerns into account.
We have consistently refused any kind of ISDS in TTIP, and have been putting pressure on the TTIP negotiators to drop their plan to include it. The compromise amendment that was included in this resolution was not good enough – it called to “replace” ISDS with an ill-defined international public system. ISDS-lite is still ISDS, and this is why Labour MEPs voted against the ISDS compromise amendment, and against the Resolution.
Labour and Social Democrat MEPs have been trying to re-set the agenda for TTIP, to secure an agreement that raises labour, consumer, and environmental standards, guarantees transparency and democratic controls, and protects public services. These efforts were reflected in the way Labour MEPs voted on Wednesday July 8th. Indeed, much of the content of the Resolution is positive. It makes clear demands that any TTIP text must contain high regulatory standards, protection for labour rights, the environment, and public services. That in itself is a positive outcome.
Nevertheless, we took the decision to oppose the Resolution because of the threat of ISDS. It passed despite our vigorous and determined opposition.
My Labour colleagues and I will continue to be resolute, engaged, and vocal on TTIP as the negotiations go on.