S&Ds vow to protect European sensitive areas in the EU-US trade agreement

The Socialists and Democrats Group today supported a resolution passed by the EU Parliament which will allow negotiations to begin for a free trade agreement with the United States.

The S&D Group’s president, Hannes Swoboda, said: „We fully acknowledge the potentially positive impact the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) could have on growth and jobs, which could add around 0.5% to the EU’s annual economic output – or around €119 billion.

„However, our objective is to negotiate higher, not lower, standards for jobs and growth. This is why the S&D Group has stressed the need to safeguard workers and social rights, environmental and food quality standards, data protection and cultural diversity.

„In this respect, we welcome the explicit call from the European Parliament to exclude the audiovisual sector from the agreement. This is of major importance to us. We fully support a forward-looking trade and investment agreement with the US, but when negotiating, the Commission must know that the European Parliament has a strong opinion on preserving cultural diversity. This relates both to existing but also to future media platforms“.

„In general, I want to call on the Commission not to repeat the mistakes of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA): we expect transparency during the negotiations and we need Parliament’s concerns to be taken into seriously consideration if a positive consent is to be found.”*

Author of the resolution and chairman of the parliamentary trade committee, S&D Euro MP Vital Moreira, commented:

„The resolution should now be duly taken into account by the Council and the Commission. Parliament wants to be kept on board and enhance its monitoring of the negotiations at all stages, as it will only give its final consent if we have positive outcomes for our businesses, workers and citizens“.

S&D spokesperson on trade, Bernd Lange, said: „This agreement will have very positive effects providing we safeguard sensitive areas such as data protection. As with everything related to the environment, food and health, we advocate the precautionary principle. And we clearly state that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and cloning must be excluded from the agreement.

„Labour rights enshrined by EU legislation are also included as a non-negotiable issue we must preserve.“

* Negotiations will start in June and the agreement reached by the European Commission will require the consent of the European Parliament before it comes into force.