Today, a vote should have taken place in Strasbourg on the EP’s position on TTIP, including the issue of ISDS. Although Parliament’s resolution on the Commission position is not crucial at this stage, it was considered an indicative vote for the project’s success.
Greens have consistently raised the alarm over the EU-US TTIP negotiations, which reflect undue corporate influence, despite claims to the contrary.
Many campaigners, such as War on Want and Global Justice Now, and others from across the EU, were in Strasbourg for today’s vote. However, at the 11th hour, late on Tuesday afternoon, Parliament’s President took the decision to postpone the vote on the basis of article 175 of the Rules of Procedure. He claimed that that the procedure was triggered due to the number of amendments, over 200, but this is not an automatic process – the President has discretion.
Given the divisions in his own political Group (S&D) on the subject of ISDS in particular, this looked like a way to buy time.
To compound the problem, this morning the Parliament decided by 183 votes in favour, 181 against, and 37 abstentions to postpone the debate as well – so we are not even talking about TTIP today.
Jean commented: ‘I am really shocked. I have been in this Parliament for years and cannot remember such a thing happening before, although it might have been tried. Greens voted to maintain the debate – the Tories, amongst others, voted to postpone it.
‘Are the Commission and national governments running scared, finally aware of the depth of feeling over this proposed Treaty? After all, there are now over 2 million signatures collected by a European Citizen’s Initiative which is heavily critical.’
‘Unable to ignore serious internal division in and between the larger political groups, the grand coalition is running scared. Denying us the right to raise the legitimate concerns of the electorate is a power game by the centre-right and it will only bolster the resolve of those opposed.
‘EU citizens and civil society, as well as small and medium-sized businesses, are increasingly aware of what’s at risk with this proposed Treaty: hard -fought-for standards. Postponing the debate was something that passed by 3 votes: that’s how much opposition to the EU-US negotiations has grown in the European Parliament. This is due to growing public pressure. The momentum on TTIP is clearly shifting – we need to keep the pressure up, if anything we have been given more time to raise awareness and apply pressure even further.’
A new date for the vote and debate has not been set.