TTIP- speech

  • I have to say that after the vote in INTA on TTIP last week I am quite happy;
  • However I would like to ask for your consideration and support to table amendments and request split votes to the TTIP recommendations on the regulatory costs, transitional periods and the bilateral safeguard clause;
  • Please bear in mind that all my proposals for a change are inspired by our EPP TTIP Position Paper adopted in Milan;
  • I have already send my proposals to our Shadow Rapporteur and INTA coordinator; 

My position

  • I also want to take this opportunity to make my position clear on the mentioned issues;
  • This should have been discussed before we had the INTA vote.
  •  My main and only concern with TTIP - which I understand is shared by many MEPs in our group, and other groups as well - is the general uncompetitiveness of the EU economy with the US.
  • There are many reasons for this, but two stand out the most:
    • high regulatory costs of producing in the EU (due to climate change & environmental policies, product safety, animal welfare, etc);
    • high energy prices;

High regulatory costs

  •  The first one above is entirely the result of our policymaking at the EU and Member State level.
  • We can all agree or disagree on whether individual policies generating costs are good or bad (I support the ideas of many of them), but we cannot deny that they generate high costs, which are not borne by companies in the US and other countries.
  • Therefore, a duty-free market in which our companies will be competing with US companies will be unfair, as our companies will be handicapped with higher costs resulting from EU law.
  •  Not from the US comparative advantage but precisely due to EU policies.
  • This regulatory cost discrepancy does not only affect the heavy industry. It also affects agriculture: from animal welfare costs, to lack of cheaper GMO feed to “farm to fork” EU food quality systems and others.
  • Therefore this approach on reduction of duties is not only unfair, it is also self-defeating to the policies that we are so proud of. This is a fact we cannot close our eyes to.

High energy prices

  • The second one of the two – high energy prices – is also the result of many factors,
    • some of them natural (US access to cheap shale gas), but
    • some of them regulatory as well, including lack of internal EU energy market, our policies on energy, taxation at the national level, and others.
  • Whatever the reason, the fact remains that we have high energy prices and the US has them very low. This again is a fact we cannot close our eyes to. This again impacts our industry’s ability to compete with US imports.

Solution: transitional periods and bilateral safeguard clause

  • Therefore, basic fairness requires giving these sectors most afflicted by this discrepancy in regulatory and energy costs some level of protection, anything we can find:
    • long transition periods,
    • exemptions, or
    • ability to protect themselves, in the cases of import surge, with duties re-imposed through a bilateral safeguard clause.
  • We cannot on one hand impose such costs on them, but then on the other tell them to compete with products that do not have such costs. This simply does not make sense.
  • Therefore, in my view, we need to clearly set out – to the European Commission negotiators – that we want the interest of this sectors secured and why.
  • Now, moving to the specific issue of the TTIP resolution and amendments. I would like to request to table amendments to 3 paragraphs:
    • Paragraph 1 - point b - point (ii)
    • Paragraph 1 - point b - point (iii)
    • Paragraph 1 - point d - point (vii)
  • And 6 split votes;
  • I am really open to any compromise on this that addresses this logical structure:
    • high regulatory costs in the EU, not present in the US, require us to protect our industry that has complied with our laws that make our environment/products/air/animals safe and better, through long transitional periods/safeguard clause;
  • I should also mention request for a split concerning visas. I think by deleting some words we will strengthen our position.
  • Also, I would like to underline again that I am not asking for anything our group has not yet supported, it is all in our EPP TTIP position paper;
  • Thank you for the floor!
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