EU ‘running scared’ on trade deal

Published: Wednesday 10th June 2015 by The News Editor

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Ukip leader Nigel Farage said Brussels was “running scared” of public disquiet over a controversial trade deal with the US after a debate and vote in the European Parliament was pulled at the last minute.

MEPs narrowly voted to postpone today’s consideration of the EU-US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) following the announcement that there would be no vote.

European Parliament president Martin Schulz said the delay was required because more than 200 amendments had been tabled that should be considered by the committee on international trade.

But critics hailed the move as a recognition of the growing strength of opposition to aspects of the proposed deal, including the potential impact on the NHS and other public services.

The formal support of the Parliament is seen as an important element in pushing forward the deal, though it is not required at this stage.

Mr Farage wrote on Twitter: “EU running scared of European public on TTIP, corporatist agenda cracking.

“17 years as an MEP and never seen such public disquiet re an EU issue. The result? Debate and vote on TTIP suspended. They’ve got the wind up.”

At the G7 summit in Germany on Sunday, Prime Minister David Cameron welcomed an agreement to “immediately accelerate” work on TTIP, with the goal of reaching an outline agreement “as soon a s possible and preferably by the end of this year”.

“Every day we don’t do a deal it is costing the global economy £630 million. So let’s redouble our efforts and reach a political agreement on an ambitious deal within the next six months,” he said.

Protesters outside the summit venue in the B avarian Alps warned that the deal would undermine safety and environmental standards and national health systems in Europe.

Labour has backed the deal but leadership contest front-runner Andy Burnham told GMB trade union members yesterday that his support was not guaranteed without stronger guarantees that the NHS would be protected.

Unions have led opposition in the UK to the proposals, including the ” investor-state dispute settlement mechanism (ISDS)” which critics say will dangerously increase the power of multinational firms by allowing them to sue national governments.

MEPs voted by 183 to 181 against, with 37 abstentions, to postpone the debate after Mr Schulz put off the vote.

Trade committee chair Bernd Lange said: ” We will use the additional time we gained to work towards reaching a stable majority for the TTIP resolution.

“The EP (European Parliament) can only come forward with a strong message for the TTIP negotiators if our resolution is supported by a broad majority.”

The committee is due to meet again on Monday.

Published: Wednesday 10th June 2015 by The News Editor

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