For Immediate Release
European Parliament’s TTIP Vote A Step Backward for Public Health
WASHINGTON - Today, the European Parliament (EP) adopted a resolution that was supposed to clarify the Parliament’s expectations and redlines with regard to the ongoing Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations. However, the resolution fails to address the threat to public health and environmental laws in the EU posed by TTIP, and it ignores a growing chorus of voices that have raised concerns about this risk.
In June, the Germany Environment Agency warned that the “improper design of regulatory cooperation in TTIP carries potentially significant environmental risks.” In April, the European Parliament’s own Environment, Public Health and Food Committee (ENVI) called on the Commission to ensure that TTIP does not lead to a lowering of existing environmental, health and food safety standards, including toxic chemical standards.
The EU’s current proposal on regulatory cooperation sets out a road map to derail the implementation of existing legislation and to undermine the ability of EU Member States to set standards of protection at a level that the public – not foreign governments and corporations – deems appropriate.
In recent months, it has become abundantly clear that industry and foreign governments have used (and continue to use) TTIP negotiations to slow, weaken, or stop decisions to protect public health in the EU. For example, the US Government and industry have used the prospect of TTIP to delay stronger action on toxic chemicals in food and consumer products for years.
Today’s resolution by the European Parliament is yet another example in the on-going story of how TTIP continues to stifle the calls by governments, elected officials, and millions of citizens for stronger standards on public health, the environment, and food safety.
As negotiations resume in Brussels next week, it is essential that the European Commission urgently address the growing concern that TTIP can lead to a weakening of public health protections. This requires a decisive shift away from unsubstantiated assurances to this effect, and towards a true reflection of these concerns within the proposals and negotiating text.
Since 1989, the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) has worked to strengthen and use international law and institutions to protect the environment, promote human health, and ensure a just and sustainable society.