EU Commission Responds to Ombudsman, Publishes TTIP PapersEU | January 7, 2015, Wednesday // 18:00| views
EU Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmstrom. Photo: EPA
The European Commission (EC) published Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiating documents on Wednesday.
The move comes after the European Ombudsman Emily O'Reilly called on the EC for greater transparency on the trade talks with the US, EurActiv reports.
This is the first time that the EC reveals the legal language and binding rules that are at discussion during the free trade agreement negotiations.
There have been suspicions and accusations that the impact of big business on the negotiations is too large.
O'Reilly, who investigates complaints about maladministration in the EU institutions and bodies, began a probe into the issue in July 2014 and called for greater transparency, EurActiv reminds.
The EC has repeatedly dismissed the accusations, claiming that the negotiations have been the “most open trade talks in history”.
The texts published by the EC cover competition, food safety and animal and plant health, customs and trade facilitation, technical barriers to trade, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
The texts are accompanied by factsheets that explain the contents of the negotiations in plain language.
EU Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmstrom announced that more documents will be released after the next round of negotiations with the US, which is to take place in February.
Malmstrom assured that texts on regulatory coherence and sustainable development will be published following discussion with the EU Council and Parliament and after sharing them with the US.
According to her, texts on market access, quotas and tariffs were too sensitive to be published.
The publication of the negotiation documents by the EC comes amidst staunch resistance by the US to reveal its papers.
According to Malmstrom, while the EC can make public its own documents, it was up to the US to determine whether to reveal its papers.
O'Reilly has requested not only greater public access to consolidated negotiating texts, but also lobbying transparency to be extended to EC directors, heads of unit and negotiators.
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