The European commission's proposal to release a large number of the texts from the transatlantic trade and investment partnership (TTIP) talks to MEPs has been welcomed by parliament's political groups.
Parliament has been campaigning vigorously for the TTIP negotiations to be more transparent since they were begun by the European commission and EU member states with the US. The commission's decision has been seen as a step in the right direction by MEPs, but still falling short of fulfilling the goal of several groups in parliament, that being full transparency.
"The new trade commissioner has turned into action what the European parliament has been requesting for a long time […] the reduction of worries and myths – this can only happen through more transparency"
Daniel Caspary the EPP group spokesperson on international trade and a member of parliament's international trade (INTA) committee welcomed the decision, saying, "The new trade commissioner has turned into action what the European parliament has been requesting for a long time […] the reduction of worries and myths – this can only happen through more transparency".
But Caspary also highlighted that TTIP negotiations should only be as transparent as necessary, saying, "Let's not forget that the TTIP is still an ongoing negotiation that will always require a degree of confidentiality".
Marietje Schaake the ALDE spokesperson on TTIP, a member of INTA and a vice-chair on parliament's delegation for relations with the US, similarly welcomed the decision, saying, "These measures are an important step forward and a victory for the European parliament […] while there is more that could still be done, these measures will make TTIP the most transparently negotiated EU trade agreement yet."
Although praising the decision, Schaake urged the commission and member states to adopt a more transparent approach in the future, stressing, "We must now encourage further discussions with the commission and member states to open meetings to the public where possible with the US regarding the transparency of their documents".
The Greens' trade spokesperson and a vice-chair of INTA Yannick Jadot welcomed the decision, "Giving elected members of the European parliament access to TTIP negotiating texts is another welcome if overdue step for improving the transparency of these controversial negotiations." He said.
However, Jadot argues that more can still be done to ensure the details of the TTIP negotiations will be completely transparent, saying, "We need to be sure those negotiating on the EU's behalf do not budge an inch on EU standards and full transparency is key in this regard".