The EU and the US are negotiating a new free trade agreement ©BELGAIMAGE/ZUMAPRESS/W.Dabkowski 

Negotiations between the EU and the US on a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) could lead to the world's largest free-trade area. Although this could help to boost economic growth and create jobs on both sides of the Atlantic, there are concerns about the consequences the deal could have. This is why the European Parliament is following the talks very closely to ensure the agreement's benefits do not come at an unacceptable cost.

Issues that still need to be worked out include public health, European small and medium-sized enterprises' access to the public procurement market in the US, financial or maritime services and the so-called Investor-State Dispute Settlement clause, a mechanism to help solve disputes between investors and countries.

The European Commission has been negotiating with the US since July 2013. Once the agreement has been finalised, it will still need to be approved by the European Parliament. Without its consent, the agreement cannot enter into force. That's why the Parliament has asked for more transparency on the negotiations to enable it and others to better follow the process.

The Parliament is preparing some recommendations, expected to be approved in May, to send a clear message to the Commission and the Council on whether the talks are going in the right direction. Bernd Lange, from the trade committee, is the MEP in charge of drafting the Parliament's recommendations.At the same time other parliamentary committees are also organising hearings on the areas that would be affected by the agreement.

In this top story you will find articles, interviews and other materials to help you keep up to date of the latest developments.

Check what is going on in the EP this week concerning TTIP in our latest article.