Members of European Parliament to Have Access to Confidential TTIP Documents - Global Trade Magazine
  January 7th, 2016 | Written by

Members of European Parliament to Have Access to Confidential TTIP Documents

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Sharelines

  • The European Commission introduced transparency during the TTIP talks under pressure from Parliament.
  • Most TTIP documents are regularly published online by the European Commission.
  • Until recent agreement, only 30 MEPs had access to restricted TTIP documents, reflecting EU-US draft compromises.

All Members of the European Parliament will have access to all categories of confidential documents relating to the EU’s Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) talks with the United States, under a European Parliament/European Commission agreement.

The accessible documents will include the so-called consolidated texts, which reflect the U.S. position.

As a result of pressure from the European Parliament, the European Commission introduced a transparency initiative, during the TTIP talks, which made an unprecedented number of documents available to the public, with most of the documents being regularly published online.

However, only around 30 MEPs have been able to access TTIP consolidated documents classified as restricted, due to their sensitivity for the EU and the U.S. These are the so-called consolidated texts reflecting the draft compromises between the EU and the U.S.

“Eleven months of negotiations with the commission have paid off,” said the parliament’s Trade Committee chair Bernd Lange of Germany, who led the negotiations. “The result is a big win for the European Parliament. All MEPs will now be able to exercise their duty of democratic scrutiny of the TTIP talks. The access conditions we have agreed on will increase the transparency of the TTIP process significantly. What we have achieved today will also set a precedent for the transparency of future trade talks.”

MEPs will be able to read the consolidated texts in a secure reading room at the European Parliament, take handwritten notes and use the information as a basis for their political actions.

The agreement ensures that the confidential nature of this information is not compromised, so as to protect EU interests and avoid weakening the EU’s negotiating position. MEPs’ access will be subject to the security rules governing access to confidential documents.

This is the first time that an agreement with the European Commission has enabled all members of the European Parliament to follow the negotiations of an international agreement.