The Parliament is updating its position on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), outlining what issues are important to MEPs. The international trade committee, which is the committee in charge, will on Thursday decide on a draft report, providing guidelines to the current negotiations. MEPs will then vote on it during the June plenary. The European Commission conducts the talks on behalf of the EU, but do you know what role the Parliament plays? Read on to find out.
The Parliament drafted its first position 1.5 years ago. At the time MEPs supported launching the talks and drew several red lines, such as excluding audiovisual services. However, the MEPs who were elected last year would like to review the progress so far.
Negotiations are ongoing, so there is no final text yet. However, MEPs have been pushing for transparency from the start. As a result the Commission published the EU's negotiating positions and MEPs have access to sensitive information in a secure reading room.
The role of the Parliament
The Commission negotiates on behalf of the EU, guided by the member states, while the final deal must be approved by the EP and the Council. Without this approval, the agreement cannot enter into force.This is why MEPs are following the talks very closely.
The international trade committee votes on 28 May on a draft report written by German S&D member Bernd Lange. All MEPs will then vote on it during the June plenary, sending a clear message on what sort of agreement the Parliament is looking for.
As new MEPs were elected last year, changing the Parliament's political balance, this would an opportunity for them to express their views on the trade deal.
The draft report
The draft report being voted on this week is not the final vote when the Parliament has to decide whether to approve or reject TTIP. Instead it serves as an update of the Parliament's position following the European elections last year and taking into account new developments.
Follow the issue on social media using the hashtag EPonTTIP.