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Commission hiding far too much from citizens about EU-US trade dealings

TTIP reading room protest, Oct 2014

Press Release

Wednesday 7 Jan 2015

Nessa Childers, MEP for Dublin, welcomed today’s conclusions from European Ombudsman on the EU Commission’s inadequate transparency and public access to documents in relation to the negotiation of the EU-US trade agreement (TTIP).

Ms. Childers recently participated in a protest outside a restricted reading room in the European Parliament, where access to TTIP negotiation documents was given only to Members of Parliament’s International Trade Committee after they left any means to take notes behind (including phones or paper) to denounce the culture of secrecy surrounding the trade talks.

Ms. Childers said: “By deciding to launch her own investigation into the European Commission’s lack of disclosure of materials in their negotiations of a wide-reaching trade and standard-setting treaty with the US authorities, the European Ombudsman, Emily O’Reilly, brought much needed attention to this problem.

“The Commission has obviously listened to her questions, as today we’ve seen their first substantial disclosure of negotiation documents. I hope that they will also listen carefully to her conclusions, to address other shortcomings in transparency.

“The Ombudsman rightly understood that the secrecy in these talks alone, which the Commission repeatedly blames on US government demands, is not only often unjustified, but strips the talks of legitimacy in the eyes of the public, irrespective of their outcome.

“The Commission took a welcome step in the right direction but this is not enough. This is particularly true with regard to trade in services and the risks that trade liberalisation in this sector pose to public services.

“We must fight to protect the provision of good quality public services, which has been under unrelenting attack, especially since the onset of the financial crisis.

“Ultimately, the European Parliament will have the final say on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.

“Today’s disclosures from the Commission are a step in the right direction in terms of form, but I remain unimpressed with the substance and goals of these talks.”

ENDS

Previous statements by Nessa Childers

Childers calls for public debate on social and public health impact of the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)

Minister Bruton’s letter to Commission on EU-US trade only serves interests of big business -Childers

NOTE TO EDITORS

The documents published today can be accessed on:

http://ec.europa.eu/trade/ttip-texts

The EU Ombudsman’s conclusions to her own-initiative inquiry can be found on:

http://www.ombudsman.europa.eu/en/cases/decision.faces/en/58668/html.bookmark