Responding to calls for higher transparency, the Council agreed on 9 October to declassify the negotiation mandate for the Commission, which leads the TTIP talks on behalf of the EU. The TTIP faces a strong opposition from certain activists and pressure groups. Many fear that a deal with the US might jeopardize EU´s high social and environmental standards. Also last week a big demonstration against TTIP and the similar CETA agreement with Canada took place in Brussels. The Commission tries to argue in favor of TTIP, but with a classified mandate this was difficult. Now, the EU public may access freely the brief document dated June 2013, upon which the negotiations are based. The most recent round of talks started last week in Washington. The EU would like to have the deal finalized by the end of 2015. According to the declassified document, the Council tasked the Commission to make a deal which would encourage trade and investment, while at the same time not lowering EU´s high social, labor and environmental standards. On ISDS (investor-to-state dispute settlement), the controversial investment-protection mechanism originally meant to promote investment by ensuring fair and independent dispute settlement tribunals, but feared that it could lead to lowering environmental standards by giving enterprises a potentially powerful weapon against the states, the Council tasked the Commission to find such a deal that could not prevent governments to legislate in public interest. Mainly Germany opposes ISDS clauses, most notably in the CETA agreement with Canada, but similar stance is expected with TTIP, too.
2nd May 2018