This week, TTIP was back on the agenda of the European Parliament. The Employment and Social Affairs Committee (EMPL) decided on the timetable to prepare its opinion on the TTIP report of the International Trade Committee (INTA) which will be voted on in May in plenary. The Culture and Education Committee (CULT) also presented its draft opinion which will be discussed in the next meeting.
SOLIDAR stressed again its main concerns regarding TTIP in a letter to the INTA rapporteur Bernd Lange and EMPL opinion rapporteur Marian Harkin. Besides our concerns regarding the transparency of the negotiation process and the question of the dispute settlement mechanism, SOLIDAR stresses three major points:
Also at national level TTIP was debated this week. SOLIDAR attended a high-level event on “TTIP - chances and risks” organised by the German Social Democratic Party (SPD) on Monday, 23 February 2015 in Berlin. Participants stressed the fact that free trade agreements are important for Germany but critical points need to be taken into consideration. TTIP is therefore a chance to set standards in the age of globalisation, according to party leader Sigmar Gabriel. Reiner Hoffmann, head of the German Trade Union Confederation (DGB) very clearly stressed the need for the enforceability of labour rights and standards, a point welcomed by SOLIDAR. Also the delivery of social services in the general interest must not be undermined.
Recent developments on the issue of dispute settlement were also discussed, as Socialist Party representatives from Germany, France, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands and Luxembourg prepared a text (in German) on the Investor-State-Dispute-Settlement (ISDS) for the congress of the Party of European Socialists that took place in Madrid this past weekend. SOLIDAR remains critical regarding the general necessity of a special juridical system for private investors.