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Parliamentary questions
14 November 2013
E-011014/2013
Answer given by Mr De Gucht on behalf of the Commission

The way in which the negotiations for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) are conducted does not differ from any other trade negotiations. International negotiations, especially where they concern important economic interests, imply a certain degree of confidentiality. But confidentiality does not mean secrecy and does not prevent the Commission from informing the public of the main elements in the negotiations. This is the case for TTIP, where given the level of public interest, the Commission has made specific efforts, such as a dedicated TTIP website(1) with information in various EU languages. In an unprecedented step, the Commission has published the EU's initial position papers.(2).Throughout the negotiations, the Commission communicates with industry, consumer groups, trade unions, NGOs and civil society at large, including via its civil society dialogues. As such, the Commission organised a meeting after the first round of negotiations to inform civil society and enable them to interact with the negotiators.(3) The Commission keeps Member States, in the Council, and the European Parliament (EP) thoroughly informed of developments.

In sharing information with the EP, the Commission is strictly abiding by its 2009 Framework Agreement with the EP (art. 23-24, annexes 2 and 3) by providing all relevant information to the responsible Committee (INTA).(4) The EP also receives all the documents that are shared with the Council. The Commission briefs INTA before and after each negotiating round. The TTIP negotiations are part of a democratic process: at the end of the negotiations, it is the Council, i.e. representatives of elected Member States' governments, and the EP, that will approve or reject the agreement.

(1)http://ec.europa.eu/trade/policy/in-focus/ttip/
(2)These papers are technical documents that the Commission has presented to its US counterparts during the first negotiating round (Washington, 8-12 July 2013). They are available at http://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/press/index.cfm?id=943
(3)http://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/docs/2013/july/tradoc_151656.pdf
(4)‘Information shall, as a general rule, be provided through the responsible parliamentary committee and, where appropriate, at a plenary sitting. In duly justified cases, it shall be provided to more than one parliamentary committee’.

OJ C 216, 09/07/2014
Last updated: 14 November 2013Legal notice