Today, the member states of the European Union published the negotiating mandate for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. This mandate sets the parameters for the negotiations, which are conducted by the European Commission.
Association of Liberal Democrats in Europe (ALDE) MEP Marietje Schaake (D66, The Netherlands) says: "I am glad the member states have at long last reacted to the call to make the mandate public. The European Parliament, the European Commission and stakeholders had long been calling for it. It shows that governments are finally realising that more transparency and accessibility are needed in the negotiations on TTIP. It is ironic that the mandate, having been leaked previously, has already been available for over a year."
Marietje Schaake believes there is still a lot to be done in order to make the negotiations more transparent:
"This move by the member states is just a first step. We need more commitment from European governments and the European Commission alike to make sure that stakeholders, from small and medium size enterprises, advocacy groups and civil society feel involved in the process. We must make sure that people feel involved and that they can provide input to the negotiations. That will require more documents to be made publically accessible and less meetings to take place behind closed doors."
During the hearing of the trade commissioner designate, Cecilia Malmström, Schaake received assurances that efforts would be made to improve transparency and access to negotiating documents.
The negotiating directives for the agreement were issued by the Council in June 2013. The European Commission, who negotiates the agreement, has to consult governments, European Parliament and civil society throughout the process. Since July 2013, when the talks started, 7 rounds of negotiations have been already completed.
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