EU parliament delays TTIP discussions

Senior MEPs and political groups accused of being "afraid of citizens" by Greens deputy Yannick Jadot.

By Brian Johnson

Brian Johnson is Managing Editor of The Parliament Magazine

10 Jun 2015

Following yesterday's intervention by European parliament president Martin Schulz to postpone the plenary vote on the EU-US transatlantic trade and investment partnership (TTIP), MEPs today (June 10) agreed to also delay holding a public debate on the controversial trade agreement.

During a heated and sometimes confusing sitting in Strasbourg this morning, MEPs narrowly (by just two votes) agreed to delay their deliberations until after the parliament's international trade committee (INTA) takes another shot at trying to find a common, cross-party position

Standing in for Martin Schulz in the president's chair, centre-right vice-president Antonio Tajani cut to the quick, instructing those MEPs still fuming over Schulz's last minute intervention that, "the vote has been postponed. The debate now is whether the debate should take place."


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Despite roundly blaming each other for yesterday's resolution collapse, the parliament's main groups held things together long enough to back postponing today's debate, with the EPP's Daniel Caspary saying that his group would have been prepared to vote today, but for the fact that, "the debate on TTIP should take place when the vote takes place. As such, both should be postponed".

Gianni Pittella, leader of the parliament's socialist MEPs, attempted to deflect the widely held belief that the crisis had been prompted by deep divisions within his S&D group over their position on TTIP's contentious investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism, by praising Schulz's decision to delay the resolution vote.

"The S&D is neither in favour nor opposed to having the debate today. The key issue is that given the lack of agreement on the resolution, there must be more discussion," said Pittella.

However, Greens/EFA deputy Yannick Jadot accused socialist MEPs and parliament president, Martin Schulz in particular, of manipulating parliament's rules because of socialist fears that the vote would not go their way." Why is the parliament afraid of its citizens?" queried Jadot.

Despite the angry clashes, MEPs eventually agreed to the postponement with 183 votes in favour, 181 against and 37 abstentions.

 

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