Jürgen Hardt, Coordinator of Transatlantic Cooperation in the Field of Intersocietal Relations, Cultural and Information Policy, issued the following statement today (26 January) on the imminent opening of the TTIP reading room, where the TTIP negotiating documents will be made available to all Members of the German Bundestag:
I welcome the imminent opening of the TTIP reading room, which will give all Members of the German Bundestag, as well as all other members of national parliaments of EU Member States, access to the consolidated negotiating documents on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). An agreement between the EU’s chief negotiator, Commissioner Cecilia Malmström, and United States Trade Representative Michael Froman is thus being promptly implemented. This agreement will further increase the negotiations’ transparency and take into account the German Bundestag’s need to be involved in this important negotiating process.
In many talks with US interlocutors, I repeatedly lobbied for increasing national parliaments’ involvement in the process via access to negotiating documents. Transparency is the best way to counter the mistrust felt towards a trade agreement between the EU and the US. In the future, it will be easier to meet criticism with concrete facts.
In my capacity as Coordinator of Transatlantic Cooperation, I have already been able to see the negotiating documents. Now other colleagues will also be able to see that both negotiating partners are working strictly within their respective mandates on a forward-looking trade agreement that will be of benefit to both sides.
Now that this important step to increase mutual transparency has been taken, I can only strongly encourage both sides to inject new momentum into the TTIP talks and to make crucial progress in the negotiations during the forthcoming twelfth round of talks in Brussels at the end of February. TTIP is and will remain a key transatlantic project for the future that will boost the EU’s economic power and capacity for innovation in the coming decades.