Council must reach a common position on GSP, says EP Rapporteur Hautala 

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Rapporteur on the Generalised Scheme of Preferences Heidi Hautala (Greens/EFA, FI) issued the following statement on Wednesday after Council’s failure to agree on its negotiating position.

“Today’s failure of the Council to find agreement on the review of the Regulation on a Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) means a worrying prospect for millions of people in the global south who look to the EU for support in promoting trade, human rights and sustainable development. The credibility of the EU in trade and development is now at stake.

The Council should do its utmost at all levels to solve the final pending issues and reach a common position as a matter of urgency. The member states are on the verge of finding a workable compromise. It would be a dereliction of duty on the part of the Council to allow the reform to fail.

We hear that the Commission is considering a prolongation of the current system. While we understand the need to ensure continuity, this would, at this stage, amount to bypassing co-legislators rights to design the future GSP. A prolongation is not the solution to the issues on the table and cannot provide a simple technical fix to the current political stalemate, as it would require approval by the co-legislators under the ordinary legislative procedure.

The EU must not lose this opportunity to put forward a strong trade and development instrument to support the poorest countries. The beneficiary countries and the European citizens are eagerly waiting for the new regulation to be adopted and it must be implemented by the end of next year.

The European Parliament stands ready to begin inter-institutional negotiations and is committed to their swift conclusion to arrive at a final regulation that is focused squarely on the core objectives of poverty eradication and sustainable development.”

Background

The European Parliament has been waiting for the Council to launch negotiations about the final shape of the new GSP legislation since May when it adopted its own position.

In place since 1971, the EU GSP covers more than 60 countries and two billion people. The new regulation is set to be in effect between 2024 and 2033.

Contact: Office of Ms Heidi Hautala, heidi.hautala@europarl.europa.eu, tel: +32 228 45 518