“TTIP: A challenge, but also an opportunity, for Europe”
The members of the European Economic and Social Committee have voted overwhelmingly in favour of a balanced EESC opinion supporting the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership negotiations and calling for the benefits of TTIP to be spread evenly among businesses, workers, consumers and the public.
The EESC welcomes this partnership project and believes that a balanced agreement could support growth and job creation in the EU. A condition of this endorsement is that the current level of social, environmental and consumer protection enjoyed by EU citizens should not be compromised. The EESC believes that a robust sustainable development chapter, reiterating the obligations arising from ILO membership and implementing core multilateral environmental agreements, combined with a strong civil society monitoring mechanism, could be one of the best guarantees that the negotiators’ promises will be met.
Mr Krawczyk, President of the EESC Employers Group and the rapporteur, said that the EESC is determined to play its part in the negotiations and underlined the importance of an ongoing and transparent dialogue with civil society in the light of the high stakes and the need for broad-based public support on both sides of the Atlantic. He also stressed that TTIP should include provisions designed to secure the supply of energy and strategic raw materials.
On the delicate question of investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS), the co-rapporteur, Mr Boyle, member of the Employees Group, argued that the complexity of the subject required a separate own-initiative opinion analysing the existing practices and the new ISDS model presented by the European Commission for public consultation.
EESC members also agreed that the TTIP should include specific provisions supporting SMEs, and should maintain public services in the EU in accordance with EU treaty obligations.
The European Economic and Social Committee represents the various economic and social components of organised civil society. It is an institutional consultative body established by the 1957 Treaty of Rome. Its consultative role enables its members, and hence the organisations they represent, to participate in the EU decision-making process. The Committee has 353 members from across Europe, who are appointed by the Council of the European Union.