EU Parliament Backs Start Of Transatlantic FTA NegotiationsPublished on 23 May 2013 @ 11:27 pm
Intellectual Property Watch
By Monika Ermert for Intellectual Property Watch
The European Parliament today voted in favour of a resolution welcoming the start of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). With 460 votes in favour, 105 against â€“ mainly the Green Party Group and the Left – and 28 abstentions, the resolution passed after a heated debate Wednesday night. The majority allowed for the flexibility asked for by EU Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht in the debate but nevertheless requested to â€œexclude cultural and audiovisual services, including those provided online.â€
Other concerns listed are genetically modified organisms, cloning and consumer health. On the other side, the Parliament supported that the â€œagreement should include strong protection of precisely and clearly defined areas of intellectual property rights (IPRs).â€ A competing resolution by the Green Party which declared IPR protection â€œan area where there are deep transatlantic divergences and which requires agreement on exceptions to rights, limitations to remedies and proportionate enforcementâ€ and recommended to keep it â€œfor a later stage of negotiationsâ€ did not pass.
Controversial were also the different requests for transparency. While the majority settled on â€œthe need for proactive outreach and continuous and transparent engagement by the [European] Commission with a wide range of stakeholders,â€ the Green Party resolution asked for a higher level of transparency, including webstreaming of the EU Council’s deliberations on the mandate. Council will decide on the mandate in a dedicated session on 14 June. The draft mandate was leaked first by US publication Inside US Trade (link see on the website of European Digital Rights [EDRi], here).
The EU Commission tried to counter arguments about being non-transparent, beginning invitations for a second stakeholder dialogue meeting. Both EDRI and the Transatlantic Consumer Dialogue (TACD) reported about the first dialogue meeting.