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Parliamentary question - E-009284/2013(ASW)Parliamentary question

Answer given by Mr De Gucht on behalf of the Commission

The Commission is aware of the concerns raised by the Honourable Member. A certain level of confidentiality is needed in the negotiations for the EU to succeed and reach its objectives. The Commission will remain in regular contact with the European Parliament, Member States, civil society and the public at large. The agreement, when concluded, will, like all international agreements, comply with the rule of law and have to be ratified by the European Parliament. It will thus remain entirely subject to the democratic scrutiny of the Parliament.

All EU trade and investment negotiations are conducted with the overarching aim of bringing benefits to our societies, citizens and companies in a sustainable way. The same therefore applies to the TTIP negotiations: domestic environmental, privacy, safety or health standards, and policies to protect consumers cannot and will not be lowered to promote trade and investment. The negotiations would not be about compromising the health of European consumers. Basic legislation protecting consumers will not be up for negotiation. Moreover, the Commission will carefully take into account the specifics of EU agricultural markets and special treatment will be provided for sensitive products. The precautionary principle and the polluter-pays principle, which are enshrined in the TFEU, will be fully respected.

The right to regulate will always be fully preserved in EU trade and investment agreements, including in the TTIP. As for investment protection, due consideration is given to the way substantive standards are drafted to make it clear that regulatory measures in the public interest can always be maintained or adopted.

The Commission refers the Honourable Member to the answers to questions 2504‐ 6958/13[1].

OJ C 88 E, 27/03/2014