Who are the EU Parliamentarians that shape EU’s trade policy?

Key recent developments, such as the blockade of CETA by Wallonia and the triumph of protectionism in American Presidential elections (which is likely to ditch TTIP), highlight the need for those who work on trade to understand how politics affects their side of the business. In order to predict and to prevent blockages, one has to gain a genuine understanding of the actual views of all relevant political factions and the balance of influence between them. Continue Reading

Lessons to be learnt from CETA’s stalemate

Those who believed this spring that CETA was a done deal now have quite a few things on their hands. The complexity of the EU decision-making and the diverging political interests within it have once again taken the bureaucrats in charge of negotiating the deal by surprise.

This occurrence is a case in point of why one needs to make much broader political calculations when trying to get something approved by the EU decision-making machinery. Continue Reading

Who is for and against free trade in the European Parliament

Which members of the European Parliament – MEPs – are the most in favour of free trade and which, to the contrary, are the most opposed to it? Not necessarily those you might think, our latest VoteWatch Europe study shows.

We have used the European Parliament as object of analysis for two reasons. Firstly, this European institution plays an increasing role in influencing EU’s trade policy. Continue Reading

The European and national politics behind China’s market economy status

The European Parliament has recently said “no” to granting market economy status (MES) to China. At the final vote, 84% of its Members backed the EP document, which made it look to the outsiders like there is a broad consensus against MES for China. However, a closer look at the actual text adopted and on how MEPs voted on key amendments shows a much more nuanced picture by country and political family. Continue Reading

TTIP under pressure: what are the forecasts?

Despite lengthy negotiations and the optimism of the top-level political elites in Hannover, the fate of TTIP is far from certain. The on-going revelations based on leaked documents were meant to give an important blow to the negotiations. Their real impact on the public opinion will be measurable in the coming weeks, while on the medium-term crucial electoral contests are looming ahead. Continue Reading

MEPs back FTA negotiations with Australia and New Zealand

In another move that aims to increase the EU’s leverage on the global market, MEPs last week backed the opening of trade talks with Australia and New Zealand with an overwhelming majority. The only opposition came from the (far) left and the extreme right amid concerns over globalisation. Agriculture and transparency remain thorny issues, however.

This FTA adds one more link to the global trade network that the EU is building and which includes similar deals with the US (TTIP), Canada (CETA), Japan, alongside the already completed FTA with South Korea, and the TiSA (Trade in Services Agreement). Continue Reading

EU parliamentarians set the requirements for TiSA negotiations

An overwhelming majority of EU Parliamentarians backed a resolution setting out their recommendations to the Commission for the ongoing negotiation on the Trade in Services Agreement also know as TiSA. The trade pact between the EU and other 22 WTO Members, aimed at improving international rules in sector such as financial, digital and transport services.

The final text has been adopted by 532 votes in favour, 131 against and 36 abstentions. Continue Reading

Manfred Weber (EPP) vs. Gianni Pitella (S&D): allies or rivals?

Manfred Weber and Gianni Pittella are the leaders of the two biggest political factions in the European Parliament, the groups of the European People’s Party and of the Socialists and Democrats, respectively.

Many observers have argued that there are few differences between the views of these two, a situation which acts as a disincentive for the European citizens to come to vote, since they can’t see why an option is better than the other. Continue Reading

TTIP mandate makes it through EP plenary. Investors’ protection system remains in limbo

The European Parliament finally voted on 8 July on one of the most important dossiers it deals with in this term, the Trade Agreement with the US (TTIP). As VoteWatch had predicted in an analysis published in April, a comfortable majority of Members have endorsed the continuation of negotiations conducted by the EU Executive (the Commission) with its American counterpart.

The pro-TTIP camp was formed of the People’s Party (EPP), the majority of the Socialists&Democrats (S&D), Conservatives&Reformists (ECR) and Liberal-democrats (ALDE), which gathered 436 votes (61%). The anti-TTIP camp was formed of the radical-left / communists, Greens/EFA, euro-sceptics (EFDD) and nationalists (EFN), which gathered 241 votes  (34%).

TTIP 9 July

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EP majority still favourable to TTIP & reformed ISDS, but negotiations will take longer than expected

by Doru Frantescu, Director and co-founder of VoteWatch Europe 
https://twitter.com/dorufrantescu

Our main take-aways from the postponement of the TTIP vote and the analysis of the positions and constraints of the political forces:

– the postponement of the vote was mainly a political, rather than a technical decision;

– a strong majority in favour of TTIP is still there, a narrow one for ISDS too;

– negotiations are unlikely to be finalised within the timeline wished by Jean Claude Juncker, i.e. the end of 2015.

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On 10 June, the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) were supposed to vote their views on how and what the Commission should negotiate with the US government within the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investments partnership (TTIP). However, the vote was postponed, the official reason invoked being that there were simply too many amendments and requests for separate votes, which would have made the voting session lengthy and difficult to follow by the MEPs.

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