In the light of the recent trade conflict with the United States Yannick Jadot and Sven Giegold have written a common letter to EU trade commissioner Malmström. The letter is documented below.
Dear Commissioner Malmström,
We are highly concerned by the escalation of the trade conflict between the United States of America and our European Union including its potential global knock-on effects. The postponement of the tariff decision is very likely only a respite. The effects of an international trade war for the livelihood of employees, consumers and enterprises are potentially economically devastating. Therefore, we have all understanding that the Commission, according to media information, is in open talks with the American partners in order to avoid such a scenario. At the same time we are concerned that European interests are not best represented.
During her talks in the US Chancellor Merkel has proposed a “TTIP light” focused on lowering industrial tariffs. President Macron has signaled that such a one-sided deal is not acceptable and suggested to include agriculture and climate policies as well. This open demonstration of different European priorities is deplorable at the moment of high political tensions. Trade policy is a European competence. Thus we are surprised to see Macron and Merkel negotiating in America while the European Commission is publically surprisingly silent. We firmly believe that Europe’s employees, consumers and enterprises are better served if European interests are represented by the European Commission, with one voice and under the control of Council and Parliament, rather than by member states who are even openly contradicting each other. This is also what the European treaties foresee.
Neither the public nor the European Parliament were officially informed by the European Commission about the new talks between the US and the EU. Trade policies cannot be negotiated without the European citizens any longer. Equally, we are not aware of any official mandate by the member states for these talks. Even less such a mandate for discussing TTIP light was ever discussed with the European Parliament. The TTIP mandate of the European Council as well as the plenary decision on TTIP of the European Parliament does not foresee a TTIP light.
Greens could well see benefits of a potential TTIP light to lower industrial tariffs, which could also contribute to rebalancing the global economy. But, we would like to insist that social, environmental and fiscal dumping as well as unfair trade practices have equal importance.
Equally, we would like to remind you that also talks for a TTIP light need a formal mandate. The European Parliament and national parliaments have clearly defined rights in trade policy, which needs to be respected. Equally the wider public has a right to strong transparency in European trade negotiations in particular in moments of relevant conflicts. Therefore, we call on you to inform the European public about the state of the ongoing talks with the American partners according to the strong transparency commitments you made in the past. Equally, we will suggest that you will be invited to the European Parliament in order to discuss the matter in a public hearing.
Yannick Jadot MEP, Green INTA coordinator
Sven Giegold MEP, Green ECON coordinator