European Commission Denies EU Public Right To Express Views On TAFTA/TTIP And CETA

from the something-rotten-in-the-state-of-Europe dept

One of the most glaring problems with TAFTA/TTIP is the lack of input from the public in whose name it is being negotiated. The great interest in providing feedback on the agreement can be seen from the one occasion when it was possible to voice an opinion — the European Commission’s consultation on the inclusion of a corporate sovereignty chapter. And yet, even though an unprecedented 150,000 responses were received — the vast majority of which were against any kind of investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) measures — a top European politician recently announced that there are no plans to take ISDS out of CETA, the almost-finished trade agreement between the EU and Canada that represents a kind of warm-up for TAFTA/TTIP.

Since the European Commission refuses to take into account the public’s views directly, people have turned to another mechanism to make their voices heard: a special kind of EU-wide petition called a European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI). If sufficient signatures are obtained from around the EU, the European Commission is obliged to respond, but the bar to make that happen is set quite high:

One million signatures must be gathered within one year. Additionally, in seven EU states a specific minimum of supporters must be achieved, e.g. 72,000 signatures in Germany, 55,500 in France, or 54,750 in the United Kingdom. If the initiative succeeds in doing this, then the EU Commission organises a hearing in the EU Parliament, and concerns itself with the matter. The ECI citizen’s committee then finally receives a written response from the Commission. If the Commission decides to present a legal act, then this is is passed on to the European Council and to the European Parliament.

That information comes from a new site set up by the Stop TTIP Alliance, a pan-EU coalition that aims to seek support for the following petition:

We invite the European Commission to recommend to the Council to repeal the negotiating mandate for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and not to conclude the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).

Before signatures can be solicited, an ECI must first be registered with the European Commission. As a precaution, the Stop TTIP Alliance took legal advice to ensure that its petition met the requirements of the ECI. Despite that, the European Commission has just refused the registration request, which means the petition cannot go ahead as planned. Although that came as a complete surprise, the organizers of the ECI certainly aren’t giving up — on the contrary:

“Now the battle really begins,” said Michael Efler, contact person of the ECI, which currently represents almost 230 organizations from 21 EU countries. “The rejection of the ECI only confirms the Commission’s strategy to exclude citizens and parliaments from the TTIP and CETA negotiations. Instead of paying attention to citizens, it is just lobbyists that are being listened to.”

The group offered some comments on the contrived legalistic justification offered by the European Commission for refusing to allow the petition to proceed. For example, the Commission claimed that the negotiating mandates for both TTIP and CETA were not “legal acts”, as required for a petition, but “internal preparatory acts”. Efler says:

“If the Commission?s legal opinion had any substance, then in plain English this would mean that Europe’s population is excluded from participation in the development of any kind of international agreements — information that is as frightening as it is scandalous.”

The European Commission also tried to claim that it couldn’t make “negative ratification proposals”, but the Stop TTIP group points out:

“this means that citizens can only applaud international negotiations carried out by the Commission, but not criticize them,? said Efler.

Against this background, the Stop TTIP group is considering whether to begin legal action against the European Commission, including taking its case to the EU Court of Justice. After, all, this is not just about a European petition, but about European democracy, as one of the main organizers of the Stop TTIP ECI, John Hillary, writes:

There is something rotten in the state of Europe when an unelected, unaccountable EU body can glibly inform millions of us that we no longer have the right to question its most dangerous and unpopular policies.

The ruling is a slap in the face for the 230 civil society organisations from across Europe that have lined up behind the initiative, and the millions of European citizens they represent. The ECI is the only vehicle available to us to challenge the shadowy bureaucrats of the European Commission. Now even this seems to be too much scrutiny for them.

Follow me @glynmoody on Twitter or, and +glynmoody on Google+

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Comments on “European Commission Denies EU Public Right To Express Views On TAFTA/TTIP And CETA”

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That One Guy (profile) says:

To who?

Despite that, the European Commission has just refused the registration request, which means the petition cannot go ahead as planned. Although that came as a complete surprise

How could that move have possibly been a surprise to anyone, given how blatantly those involved have shown their contempt to the public being involved in any way?

All of those involved have made it abundantly clear that as far as they are concerned, the public, those most affected by such ‘trade agreements’, do not, in any way, deserve to have any say in those ‘agreements’, and should just sit down, shut up, and let those involved hold their negotiations behind closed doors.

Given how insanely hostile they’ve been towards any public involvement(and no wonder, given the public got the last corporate wishlist, ACTA, killed), it’s hardly a surprise they’d do everything they can to shut down any attempts by the public, or those truly interested in representing them, from being involved in the process.

MrTroy (profile) says:

Re: To who?

I hear exactly what you’re saying, and why they don’t want the public involved in the negotiations… but doesn’t ACTA demonstrate exactly why they should be trying to get the public onside rather than ignore them?

Unless they are doing these negotiations for fun, and don’t actually care if they are ever enacted into law.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: To who?

ACTA was just a misinformation campaign lead by evil pirates wanting to destroy any legitimate IP. It was a flashmob hightened by US internal problems and release of misleading confidential negotiation papers. It was a unique situation, unlikely to repeat. Stopping the release is therefore important moving foreward. That also includes keeping the uninformed judges from declaring the work legislative since it clearly isn’t on its own.

The parliament has been unusually naggy about TTIP and it has started making people question the virtues of the commission. But the commission is the experts in the fields and stupid politicians or people should not stop their good work. It is all a misunderstanding produced by ACTA.

Trade agreements have been moving in this direction for legally and logically sound reasons so questioning the trade agreement is questioning the legal system and logic. Furthermore the initiation of the negotiation has been approved by the council. Therefore negative ratification proposals are absurd.

It is important for the commission to be able to protect people from themself and in this case, people are unable to understand the ramifications and realpolitical effects they will face if the deal falls. Therefore giving them ammunition for attacking the deal must be avoided.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: To who?

ACTA showed what happens when they don’t have the public on their side, so yes, they should be trying to avoid a repeat of that by being transparent of what’s going on, and inviting public discussion and suggestions.

However, most likely the reason they aren’t doing so is because they know full well that if the public knew what was being negotiated and pushed for by the various parties(supposedly in the name and best interests of the public), that the response from the public would likely make the ACTA protests seem tame in comparison.

They are determined to keep the public out because they know the public wouldn’t approve of what they are doing, simple as that.

Arie says:

Re: Re: Re: To who?

Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe (TCE) and commonly referred to as the European Constitution or as the Constitutional Treaty.
This constitution was rejected by referendum in France and the Netherlands.
EU politicians were not pleased and basically renamed the constitution to “Treaty of Lisbon” to bypass the citizens of the EU (with a treaty the EU citizens don’t have to be ‘consulted’)

A clear No vote is a “Maybe” in EU politics and “Maybe” becomes a “Yes” eventually.
The final outcome always suits the whishes of the EU elite.

Editor-In-Chief says:

Simply be the squeaky wheel....

To get the change, simply release the names, addresses, work phone numbers and home phone numbers of the European Commission staff members who have had anything to do with the refusal and/or the negotiations. Since they are all public servants they should be directly contactable by the European public. Once they are under direct contact, mayhaps they will listen, particularly when contacted at home or when delivering children to school, or going to entertainment venues or leaving their domiciles at any time.

Once their families, friends and acquaintances know what they are involved in and they start getting asked questions by these people and have to explain their actions, we might see some change in their actions. Then again we might not as they may be completely insular.

When I think about it, the same actions could be applied to the staff of the NSA, CIA, etc around the world.

David Oliver Graeme Samuel Offenbach

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Simply be the squeaky wheel....

I’m not so sure about that… this is an unelected body; they have (or should have) no governmental protections.

That being said, once these treaties are ratified, what’s to stop all involved governments from unilaterally ignoring them and refusing to pass laws that normalize the items? After all, none of the governments or citizens have ratified the treaty, so the only people who consider it binding are those who, when you get right down to it, have no power to enact punitive consequences in those countries.

In other words, by not consulting the states/citizens, this group has alientated itself and made itself powerless, unless it can dupe signatory nations into going along with it despite the fact that doing so is not in their best interests and is purely optional.

This is one place where taking the American route of “Actually, this isn’t in our best interests so we’re not going to do it even though there’s a treaty saying we will” makes perfect sense, as the only people in the EU who are actually agreeing to it have no standing to act in such a way on behalf of the citizens.

People just have to realize that the emperor has no clothes before it’s too late.

Anonymous Coward says:

anything that has Karel de Gucht involved is bad news! all he is doing is making these ‘Trade Deals’ as band as ACTA was and including as many if not all the bad parts of that disgraceful paper! i do disagree slightly with the 2nd last comment of the actual piece though. where it says :

There is something rotten in the state of Europe when an unelected, unaccountable EU body can glibly inform millions of us that we no longer have the right to question its most dangerous and unpopular policies.

it should be changed to read:

There is something rotten in the state of Europe when an unelected, unaccountable EU body can glibly inform millions of us that we no longer have the right to question its policies.

if anything is being donr ‘for the citizens’, then they should not only be allowed to have a voice, their voices should be taken note of! and no body should take on the telling what can and cant be done when the only participants are industries!!

David E.H. Smith says:


Re; The European Union – Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA)
and The W.A.D. Accord & Its Compensation.

Frau Bundaskanzarin (CHANCELLOR) Merkel;

In the matter of the C.E.T.A. and The W.A.D. Accord (THE ACCORD),
as corporate Germany, and/or, the Government of Germany may be in the process of being:
1) misled,
2) misinformed,
3) deliberately deprived of relevant due diligence information, et al, by corporate Canada,

and/or, the Government of Canada
1) the risks,
2) the liabilities,
3) the responsibilities
4) et al,

that corporate Canada, and/or, the Government of Canada may be attempting to:
1) avoid paying,
2) dilute the amount of,
3) etc.,
of its/their contribution(s) to The Compensation that is embodied in THE ACCORD (aka; “The Australian Question”) by way of the design, the development and the
ratification of THE AGREEMENT and its Tribunals(s),


as the attempts at the aforementioned
“avoiding”, and/or, the “diluting” may be construed as acts
of guilt of, but, not limited to:
1) corporate Canada,
2) the Government of Canada,
3) the other signatories to THE AGREEMENT,
5) et al,

raises the due diligence questions regarding the charges against:
1) corporate Canada,
2)the Government of Canada,

for deliberately failing to provide (the) due diligence information to its (THE) ASSOCIATES

page 1 of 3


2) raises the due diligence questions regarding the MUTUAL charges against all of THE ASSOCIATES to THE AGREEMENT, for deliberately failing to provide (the) due diligence information regarding THE ACCORD and The Compensation to THE SHAREHOLDERS, and/or, THE POTENTIAL SHAREHOLDERS,
and thereby,

THE SIGNATORIES to THE AGREEMENT and THE ASSOCIATES are in the process of creating and developing an ENTERPRISE for purposes, but, not limited to:
A) defrauding,
B) manipulating the value of Initial Public Offerings (IPOs), stocks, and/or, other financial
instruments that may be a product of THE ENTERPRISE and its subsequent ventures,
C) insider trading
D) racketeering
E) et al,
as a consequence of the creation and the development of the new, secret and superseding jurisdiction by THE ASSOCIATES, and, thus, the creation of the “de facto”
jurisdiction, and the creation of THE TRIBUNAL(s) in order to:
B) the Government Signatories to THE AGREEMENT,
C) the proceeds of the alleged criminal ENTERPRISE
D) et al,

by preventing:
A) investigations,
B) evidence and testimony,
C) findings, decisions,
determinations, and/or, conclusions
D) et al,

from being:
A) conducted,
B) disclosed, and/or, made public,
and thereby, render any, and all, judgements, and findings by the courts of lesser, and/or,
“non” jurisdictions against:
A) THE ASSOCIATES, and/or, their representatives,
C) the subsequent, and/or, associated ventures, et al,
D) the Government Signatories to THE AGREEMENT,

to be; moot, null, void, and/or, without merit,
and thus,
render any actions against the aforementioned ASSOCIATES, et al, unenforceable
provide the basis for “net” counter-suits against THE NON SHAREHOLDERS by way of the Governments of THE NON SHAREHOLDERS, that is to say the Government of Canada, et al,

page 2 of 3 and

2) SECRETLY ADJUDICATE, determine and enforce “net” decisions against THE NON SHAREHOLDERS
and the lesser provincial/state and municipal governments via the agreeable SIGNATORY Governments (that is to say; The
Government of Canada, et al) by way of:
A) punitive; fines, penalties,
and/or, damages,
B) trade sanctions
C) et al,
for depriving THE ASSOCIATES of the profits that could be derived as a consequence of the unimpeded, and/or, unencumbered development of the ventures of THE ASSOCIATES and THE ENTERPRISE,
and, as a consequence of the
aforementioned actions, and others,
I am compelled to inform you of this notification.

Other charges that have been raised against:
1) THE ASSOCIATES, and/or, their representatives,
3) the subsequent, and/or, associated ventures, et al,
4) the Government Signatories to THE AGREEMENT
5) et al,
1) deliberate ignorance,
2) malicious intent,
3) depraved indifference,
4) reckless endangerment
5) et al.

In conclusion, as the Government of Germany has publicly acknowledged its concern about the “Investor-State Dispute Settlement” (I.S.D.S.) in THE AGREEMENT, I would ask you, Frau Bundaskanzarin Merkel, if you might be amenable to discussing the merits of enjoining in a suit against:
1) corporate Canada,
2) the Government of Canada
3) et al?


David E.H. Smith
– Researcher
– “Qui tam…”
page 3 of 3

For more Information & Questions re; The Relationship between Human (Nature) Rights & Economics by way of the C-CI Treaty, the CET Agreement,
TPP, et al, and The WAD Accord,
see; Facebook; “David Smith, Sidney, BC” to access List of (Google) RECENT ARTICLES, LETTERS & NOTIFICATIONS by DEHS.

Jonathan (profile) says:

Growth or grow-up

Jonsathsan Lam It is all business as Usual; that non-elected officials bore no responsibilities on the democracy. TAFTA/TTIP and CETA allow the use prosperity index to raise their equity as double your residence value in few years. If you can’t afford to pay popped tax or utility; considerably, you may earn your first bucket of gold and move on. Perhaps, you would let those know-how to sell your national reserves as a price that elected can retire earlier and wealthier; because election cost much and it demands a better return if they qualifies tax exemption for the Corporation sovereigns.
5 minutes ago · Like

Jonsathsan Lam Besides, it cut dependency from government; it accumulated and accelerated government debts; so, you can be more independent with out social services like medical and education and so on. Ain’t you lucky if you are selected to leave your home with its prosperity index? growth or grow up…..
a few seconds ago · Like

David E.H.Smith says:


When are YOU going to make your Submission to your Supreme Court?

CANADA; International NEWS; CETAgreement, TPPartnership, C-CITreaty, et al; More Taxes & Less Services to pay The SHAREHOLDERS (Tribunals).

the harmless non shareholders of Canada.

Are YOU Depriving your Highest Court of the INFO to Decide Against the Global Corporate Economy?
Has Frau Bundaskanzarin Angela Merkel (Germ.) shared the Info with YOU?
by David E.H. Smith

…Therefore, as a consequence of the aforementioned abuses that have been listed in the enclosed research articles & the dire peril that these abuses puts the NON shareholding Canadians in, both; Native & non Native, et al, as an elaborate, ”inhumane”, ”unethical”, “immoral” & probably, criminal, enterprise, the writer humbly asks; under what circumstances would The Court consider the following?

1) Will The Court consider ensuring that any further attempts by off shore enterprises, such as the aforementioned attempts by the global corporate “arrangements”, including
corporate Canada & its associates within the government of Canada, et al, as a “reciprocity pool” of shared “secret decisions” against the non shareholders of Canada, et al,
will be dealt with punitively.

2) And, in the interim, until The Court can make a determination of any wrongful intent, &/or, abuses of the ”arrangements” as a criminal enterprise,
will the open & public Supreme Court of Canada consider
preventing the further use of the non shareholders’ tax dollars from being used to make any, &/or, any more secret decisions against themselves, ie. the NON shareholders.

3) Furthermore, can, or, will The Court consider ordering the return of any & all of the tax dollars that have been used by the government, &/or, corporate Canada & their lawyers, et al, that have been used for the development of the aforementioned “arrangements” of a what The Court may determine to be a criminal enterprise (for examples; a) as a means of using/legitimizing off-shore money, et al, b) laundering money from the proceeds of criminal enterprises, &/or, c) going toward the funding of “criminals”, et al, who may be involved in other criminal, or, unethical, or, inhumane, immoral enterprises),
and thus,
the tax dollars have not been used for the purposes that the taxpayers had intended, such as; for goods, services (particularly to police organizations & judiciaries for their investigation of, not only the aforementioned secret/privileged relationship between corporate Canada via its lobbyists
the executives of the relevant political parties,
but, the alleged wrong doing by others, as well),
programs, health, education, etc. that are consistent with the NON shareholders’ understanding of what “good” government entails
return the tax dollars with punitive penalties paid to the NON shareholding Canadians, both: Native & non Native, et al.

Similarly, given the reckless endangering situation that the government, et al, has placed the NON shareholders in, can, or, will the Court ensure that the necessary funds will be spent for their, the NON shareholders’, intended purposes in order to “guarantee” these services, et al,
consider ordering corporate Canada, its shareholders & their lawyers, advisers & service beneficiaries of the present “arrangements” will be paid with their own funds, prior to presenting their future “adventures”, &/or, “arrangements” to:
A) The Court, &/or, its representatives
and then,
B) the NON shareholders for their consideration, discussions, improvements, &/or, rejections, et al,
in open forums that have eliminated the fear of recriminations, retributions, etc. by corporate Canada, its shareholders, The Tribunals, et al.

4 A) And, less one forgets that the revelation of the present perilous International treaties/”arrangements” began with the regard for the rights of Native Canadians as per the Treaties/”arrangements” that corporate Canada & the Government of Canada have “foisted” upon Native Canadians who have been deliberately deprived of the due diligence information, such as the information in The W.A.D. Accord, et al, I am compelled to ask The Court:
will the Court consider whether, or, not The Court’s recent “Tsilhqot’in Decision”, makes
it easier for corporate Canada, its global economic associates, their shareholders, et al, to sue the Tsilhqot’in First Nation & other Native communities in Canada
and thereby, to seek financial relief from the harmless NON shareholding, non Native Canadians via the Government of Canada? And, will The Court consider preventing
any unrelated hardship to the NON shareholders as a consequence of the creation of the
aforementioned Tribunals & corporate Canada & its associates intent to obtain the unencumbered access to the natural resources that are continuing to be found in Canada & irrespective of Native title to these lands & its resources?

B) And, similarly, does the plan espoused by the American born Tom Eugene Flanagan which would enable First Nations communities to become municipalities, also make it easier for corporate Canada, its associates, et al, to sue Native communities, or, seek remedies from the Government of Canada (ie. from the NON shareholders) for any encumbrances that the new, Native municipalities, et al, might impose upon the development, &/or, access to the aforementioned natural resources, etc.?

(And, regarding the settlement of Native land claims that are presently before Canadian courts, & will continue to be before the courts for some time, the following question can help The Court a great deal in these deliberations, and that is; how were Europeans convinced to settle in North America in the first place & in particular, the land that became known as Canada?)

5) Therefore, can I only hope that given the enclosed information about the abuse, the potential for abuse & the intent of the aforementioned Tribunals which is:
A) to abuse & to limit The Court’s ability to hear…
…For the FULL ARTICLE contact me at Facebook;
“David Smith, Sidney, BC” (Canada),
The Supreme Court of Canada.

PG says:

EU groups are illegitimate

The EU and its unaccountable politicians and civil servants are trying by all means to stay in power , as they see the results of elections across the EU , and that they could lose their jobs and their power very soon .
The EU is ultra-conservative and afraid of change , and even more so afraid of citizens and their wishes , and refuse to admit the error they have made and learn from them .
The EU Commission and Parliament should be considered illegitimate today , as they refuse referendums , are unaccountable especially for the corruption and loss of money by the EU .
EU leaders listen to the lobby sector , NGOs etc etc , yet refuse to listen to electors , this proves the erosion of democracy in the EU , and its need for massive change or dissolution

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