Even though it was scheduled for Wednesday, June 10th, the European Parliament President Martin Schulz, member of the Socialist & Democrats (S&D) group, decided to postpone the plenary session vote on the Parliament’s recommendations on the negotiations on the free-trade agreement between the EU and the United States (TTIP) to July 8th. His intention was to give more time to negotiate the text of the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS). European Parliament decided to hold the next plenary vote last July 8th where they finally gained the majority support they needed.
They were asking the Commission for a “permanent solution for resolving disputes between investors and states without the use of ISDS private arbitration where potential cases are treated in a transparent manner by publicly appointed, independent professional judges in public hearings and which includes an appellate mechanism, where consistency of judicial decisions is ensured and the jurisdiction of courts of the EU and of the Member States is respected”. It was basically a demand of clarification in the text to ensure it cannot be misinterpreted, as the chair of the International Trade Committee stated. Last Wednesday, July 8th the European Parliament approved TTIP resolution with amendments on ISDS.
Schulz, aiming the International Trade Committee to commit to it, said that he requested this postponement “to defend and advance the position of the European Parliament as a whole on a crucial issue. The Commission is negotiating an agreement of global importance with the United States. The European Parliament needs to contribute with a clear and unequivocal position. What we should have is a strong text by the European Parliament and what we should avoid is the Parliament adopting a resolution which is neither here or there, or even worse, is not able to adopt a resolution”.
With this, Parliament had more time to try to find a bigger and better majority on this trade deal which is causing considerable concern among the citizens, and they suceeded. Members of the European Parliament also had to take care of the delicate situation regarding ISDS, a topic that is everything but simple: finding a common position on how to handle investment protection and the inclusion of the very controversial investor-state dispute settlement mechanism.
Right after the vote, Lange, Trade Committee Chair, stated that “today’s vote was a necessary step we had to take in committee to prepare the TTIP’s resolution to be put forward to vote in a future plenary session”.
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