Economic Justice

The European Parliament opens its doors to the agreement between the financial elite

The vote was suspended last month due to fears of a parliamentary resolution that would clash with the interests of the European Commission.

On 8 July 2015, the large coalition formed by the European conservative and socialist parties gave the green light to negotiations for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the United States and the European Union, and therefore also the inclusion of the controversial investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) instrument.

The report and amendments voted for by the majority of the European parliament are evidence of the European institutions’ rhetoric. The Parliament supports the negotiations and signing of the TTIP, with the inclusion of ‘red lines’ relating to employment rights, environmental regulations and consumer protection and, nevertheless these limits remain in the talks, as long as Parliament’s decisions don’t have a binding role in the negotiations. Furthermore, systems that guarantee the protection of these rights are not being set up.

Once again, the Parliament is disregarding the majority of the citizens who’ve said no to the TTIP and the ISDS. In the vote, via a ‘commitment amendment’ presented by the European Social and Democratic (S&D) Group, the ISDS has been allowed to be included.

The amendment only embellishes formal aspects of the arbitration mechanism, nevertheless it backs the international courts that grant privileges to investors and large foreign, multinational corporations ahead of each country’s democratic politics. The environmental, employment and consumer protection measures that affect member states’ goverments will be drastically changed, along with European citizens’ rights. The ISDS has been the most-debated element since the start of the TTIP’s negotiations. Despite the reservations of many large political parties, the European social-democratic group has finally (and not without internal divisions) bowed to its inclusion.

The European Parliament has left out the voice of other political groups, and especially that of its citizens. More than 470 organisations across Europe (including 280 from Spain) sought a ‘no’ vote to the report and amendments that included the ISDS, as well as collecting more than 2.3 million signatures throughout the continent to stop the TTIP negotiations.