For Immediate Release
July 7, 2016
Brussels, Belgium – Today, over 65 civil society organisations warned European Parliament President Martin Schulz that the European Commission is failing to comply with Parliament’s 2015 Resolution on the EU-US trade agreement (TTIP). In crossing Parliament’s “red lines”, the Commission’s TTIP proposals endanger public health, the environment, and democracy.
The letter, signed by organisations representing consumers, farmers, not-for-profit health insurers, the environment, and public interest, comes ahead of the 14th round of TTIP negotiations, planned to start on 11 July in Brussels. The organizations urge President Schultz to use his influence to ensure that the Commission complies with the European Parliament’s 2015 Resolution on TTIP,
The letter highlights the findings of a new report, which demonstrates that the European Commission has crossed several dangerous red lines established by the European Parliament. The report, authored by the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), ClientEarth and the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL), clarifies that the European Commission’s TTIP proposals can affect the more protective EU chemical and pesticide laws, can undermine the EU regulatory system, and fail to respect the jurisdiction of courts of the EU and Member States.
“As it stands, TTIP threatens the EU’s ability to limit exposure to toxic chemicals by undermining its more precautionary approach to regulation. By ignoring the European Parliament’s recommendations to keep chemicals out of TTIP, the Commission is trading away our health, environment, and democracy,” says David Azoulay, Senior Attorney and Environmental Health Program Director at CIEL.
“The European Commission has failed to follow the European Parliament’s recommendation to fully respect differences between the regulatory systems on both sides of the Atlantic,” adds Génon K. Jensen, Executive Director at HEAL. “The European Commission has proposed to give the US Government early warning of draft regulatory measures and to enable it to suggest certain legislation. How will opening this door further really protect our health? In Europe we have banned over 80 pesticides, which are still legal in the US. The US Government has already pressured the EU not to take ambitious measures to protect public health from hormone disrupting chemicals.”
“The European Commission has also ignored the European Parliament’s recommendation on investor-state dispute settlement. The Parliament said any investment provisions must respect the jurisdictions of courts of the EU and Member States,” says Karla Hill, Director of Programs with ClientEarth. “Since the European Commission has failed to implement this recommendation in its latest proposal for an Investment Court System, there are significant doubts whether this proposal is compatible with the EU Treaties.”
“Absent an immediate and dramatic reversal of course, the European Commission stands poised to negotiate a proposed TTIP agreement that the European Parliament, the European Member States and the European public cannot, should not and almost certainly will not accept,” adds CIEL’s Azoulay.
Aleksandra Terzieva, Campaign Consultant at CIEL, firstname.lastname@example.org, +32 471 931 708
Note for editors:
The European Parliament is the only institution of the European Union that has members directly elected by the nearly 500 million citizens of Europe to represent their interests.
The letter was co-ordinated as part of a campaign — TTIP: Private profit versus public health campaign — which calls on negotiators to 1) exclude chemicals, pesticides and other sensitive sectors from the EU-US trade talks; 2) exclude all elements of the current EU deregulatory agenda from being embedded in a legally binding trade agreement; and 3) exclude all provisions that would enable multinational corporations to bypass domestic courts and sue the EU and its Member States, via the so-called Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) or Investment Court System.
- Open letter 65+ NGOs sent to President Schulz: link.
- Report: A Compliance Check of the European Parliament’s TTIP Resolution: Public health, environment and democracy at risk
- European Parliament’s Resolution on TTIP: link
Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) – Founded in 1989, CIEL uses the power of law to protect the environment, promote human rights, and ensure a just and sustainable society. CIEL is dedicated to advocacy in the global public interest through legal counsel, policy research, analysis, education, training, and capacity building.
ClientEarth is a non-profit environmental law organisation based in London, Brussels and Warsaw. We are activist lawyers working at the interface of law, science and policy. Using the power of the law, we develop legal strategies and tools to address major environmental issues.
The Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) — HEAL is a leading European not-for-profit organisation addressing how the environment affects health in the European Union (EU). We demonstrate how policy changes can help protect health and enhance people’s quality of life.