Politico | 24 Jun 2015
Parliament’s trade committee to vote on TTIP Monday
Schulz has to deliver the winning compromise to the full Parliament in early July or September
By HANS VON DER BURCHARD
The European Parliament on Monday will again struggle to advance the giant EU-U.S. trade deal, after a compromise blew up between the two legislature’s biggest political parties in early June.
Parliament’s international trade committee will hold a symbolic vote on the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, but it risks highlighting the chances of future failure.
The dividing line: arbitration courts that could allow foreign investors to sue national governments over losses because of discrimination or a sudden change in law, referred to as ISDS.
“There are many good achievements in the resolution on workers rights, services and regulatory cooperation. But everybody seems to look only at ISDS. I clearly underestimated that,” said Bernd Lange, MEP from the Socialists & Democrats group and committee chairman.
Schulz’s reason for delay: Too many amendments had been tabled by Parliament.
Now it’s up to him to deliver the winning compromise, which could be presented to the full Parliament for a vote in early July or September.
“I haven’t seen such a situation in my 25 years in the European Parliament,” said MEP Godelieve Quisthoudt-Rowohl of the European People’s Party (EPP), one of the shadow rapporteurs for the resolution in the committee. “The situation is completely strained.”
The committee now hopes to reduce the number of amendments, which stood at 116 at last count. If an amendment is not withdrawn, it needs 10 percent support to pass.
“These are easily achievable. I don’t think that many amendments will fail that margin,” said Daniel Caspary from the EPP.
The rift over ISDS divides the parliament into two groups. One one side, there are advocates who want a permanent court with publicly appointed, independent judges and an appeal mechanism. On the other, opponents argue that only national courts should be able to rule on foreign investor claims.
The S&D group is split between both fractions.
“It is really the Socialists who need to get together and finally decide where they stand and what they want,” said MEP Jan Zahradil from the European Conservatives and Reformists Group. “They have brought us into the current mess and have the largest responsibility to find a proposal for a solution.”