Who’s Who & Who’s New?
With so many recent and upcoming changes to the core of the European government, TTIP Action will introduce several key figures, their portfolios, and their role in the EU over the course of the next several weeks. Today’s edition introduces Bernd Lange, the new chairman of the European Parliament’s Committee on International Trade (INTA).
“Trade policy is much more than the removal of tariffs and trade barriers. It can be a decisive instrument for the export of European fundamental values and principles. That is why I, together with my colleagues, want to advocate trade that is both free and fair,” Bernd Lange told the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament after his election.
A member of the European Parliament with a focus on industry, energy and trade, Lange now heads the Parliament’s Committee on International Trade (INTA), a position he was elected to in July 2014. The committee’s main responsibilities include the establishment, implementation, and monitoring of the Union’s common commercial policy and its external economic relations, particularly focusing on “the opening, monitoring, conclusion and follow-up of bilateral, multilateral and plurilateral trade,” notably including TTIP. Since the Lisbon Treaty, the role of the European Parliament and its committees has gained significantly in importance, as international trade agreements can only be implemented with the agreement of the European Parliament.
In an article in a German newspaper, Lange outlines the conditions under which he thinks the Parliament should endorse TTIP, stating that, “if these conditions are met, TTIP will make sense for everyone involved.” This opinion mirrors the consensus among his colleagues in the Party of European Socialists who support a balanced and transparent agreement focused on the reduction of tariffs and the reduction of technical barriers across the Atlantic. On his twitter account, Lange promotes the importance of transparency in TTIP negotiations and asks for the publication of the negotiating mandate.
In July, he sat down with viEUws to discuss the priorities for his Committee in the new Parliament, stressing that civil society must be heard in the negotiations. In that light, he hopes that the European Commission will take the results of the public consultation on ISDS into account and move forward with an agreement that leaves ISDS out.
You can see his complete biography here.
Speeches and Official Announcements
Transatlantic Trends 2014 – Remarks by Victoria Nuland
At an event launching the German Marshall Fund’s Transatlantic Trends 2014 report last week, Assistant Secretary Victoria Nuland spoke about transatlantic leadership, international security and NATO, and the many challenges that the transatlantic community currently faces, stressing the importance of protecting both transatlantic democracy and prosperity. As she put it, “completing an ambitious comprehensive Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership that we have set ourselves out to do, to deliver more jobs, more growth, and more prosperity to all our citizens”.
Read her speech in its entirety here.
EU Commission Rejects Anti-TTIP Petition Effort
Last week, the Commission refused a European citizen’s initiative which aimed to repeal the negotiating mandate for TTIP and to not conclude the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with Canada. The initiative was turned down on the grounds that it “falls manifestly outside the framework of the Commission’s powers to submit a proposal for a legal act of the Union for the purpose of implementing the Treaties.”
Read the Commission’s reply stating the reasons for the initiative’s refusal.
Celebrating the UK-US Transatlantic Relationship
On September 10, Hugo Swire, UK Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, spoke on the relationship between the United Kingdom and the United States at event hosted by British American Business, focusing on the role of NATO, the transatlantic partnership, and the ongoing economic recovery. Throughout, he stressed that “achieving an agreement on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership negotiations will be the greatest prize of all. It is potentially the largest bilateral trade agreement in the world – and it is the (UK) Government’s top trade priority for 2014.”
Read the speech in its entirety here.
US Targets Gazprom in New Round of Sanctions
The United States tightened its sanctions against Russia last Friday by including Gazprom, Europe’s leading energy provider, in the list of targeted companies. Recent US measures intended to pressure Russia into letting Ukraine choose its own destiny democratically targeted energy, financial services, and defense industries. (Financial Times)
EU Puts Ukraine Trade Deal on Legal Ice
Last Friday, the European Union announced that it would put a hold on the application of the planned trade agreement with Ukraine until the end of 2015 to increase the chances of a lasting peace deal with Russia. Through an initiative called “autonomous trade measures,” Ukraine is already enjoying almost all the benefits it would have under a deep and comprehensive trade agreement with the EU, anyway. This would just help the optics as the sides negotiate a ceasefire. (European Voice)
Outlook Darkens on Global Economy, OECD says
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s outlook for the global economy has deteriorated due to intensifying conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East, and the insecurities over the outcome of the Scottish referendum. The OECD says the impact of these geopolitical risks are exacerbated by a disappointing economic performance of the Eurozone. (Financial Times)
Scots Independence Battle Reaches Fever Pitch on Streets and Screens
After the release of polls revealing almost equal support for both sides of the Scottish independence battle, thousands of independence supporters went on the streets of Glasgow. This Thursday, four million Scots and Scotland residents will decide on the future of Scotland-which could mean a break-up of the 307 year long union with the United Kingdom. (Reuters)
Scottish Separatism Fuels Movements in Spain and Italy
With the Scottish Independence referendum looming this week, international investors fear similar motions in Spain and Italy in the near future. From the Basque Country to Catalonia in Spain to Italian regions including Veneto and South Tyrol, the Scottish case could give fresh motivations to separatist movements across Europe and globally. (Financial Times)
The Financial Times also authored a piece underlining how worried the United States is about the prospect of Scotland exiting the United Kingdom, its most-important ally.
Mario Draghi’s Vision for Eurozone Growth – Europe’s Leaders must Follow the Direction set by ECB Chief
In this Financial Times editorial, the author discusses ECB president Mario Draghi’s proposal on how to save the Eurozone through a three tier strategy of monetary, fiscal, and structural policy and the unwillingness of certain national governments to implement necessary reforms. The authors agrees with Draghi on the importance of action, but fears that he will have a tough time pushing for change with Angela Merkel, and the incoming vice-president for economic and monetary policy Jyrki Katainen who both oppose giving indebted nations additional time and fiscal flexibility. (Financial Times)
Eurozone Leaders Warn on Fiscal Rules
In his article, Peter Spiegel talks about the EU leaders differing perceptions of the “flexibility clause”, sparked by France’s and Italy’s push for more time to get under the 3% of GDP annual debt limits. They are met by opposition from leaders including Merkel, Dijsselbloem, Katainen, and Draghi who see the rules as anchors of the Eurozone’s credibility. (Financial Times)
MEPs Threaten to get Tough
This article by the European Voice gives an excellent overview of the next steps in confirming the members of the new Commission. Maltese nominee Karmenu Vella, British nominee Jonathan Hill, Spanish nominee Miguel Arias Canete, and Slovenian nominee Alenka Bratusek have been criticized for various reasons, which might endanger the final confirmation of the new Commission in October – as the European Parliament has to accept or reject the college as a whole. (European Voice)
As a complementary read to this article, Euractiv offers a critical view on the structure of the new Commission and the bundling of portfolios, questioning the ability of the new VPs to coordinate the many commissioners they oversee.
The Divisions behind Europe’s Declining Influence
This Financial Times opinion piece sees the separation of politics and economics in Europe as the source for Europe’s declining influence, as it leads politicians to overlook and downplay societal consequences of long-term economic weakness. Only if Europeans adopt a global view instead of a national one, can the vicious circle of narrow-minded national economic dogmatism, poor economic performance, and declining geopolitical influence be reversed. (Financial Times)
Asset-backed Indolence – The European Central Bank’s Plan for Economic Revival is Underwhelming
In this article, the author elaborates on the efficiency of the European Central Bank’s plan for economic revival which includes ultra-low interest rates, a long-term funding scheme to boost bank’s lending to companies and the purchase of covered bonds and asset-backed securities that are guaranteed by governments. However, the author deems the plan insufficient and of too small in scale; instead, he suggests a profound program of quantitative easing combined with acquisitions of sovereign dept. (Economist)
A Teutonic Union
Many experts were surprised that Germany did not receive any of the major economic portfolios in the incoming Commission. However, this piece by The Economist argues that this impression only holds true on the first glance – looking more closely, many of the key positions and portfolios have been given to “surrogate Germans” or firm allies of Germany. In addition, he asserts that Germany has a feel for low profile but high impact jobs and has no doubt that Brussels will remain very “German friendly.” (Economist)
Hollande Confronts Mounting Sense of Crisis in France
The robust foreign policy record of Hollande stands in stark contrast to his economic policy record as France repeatedly cannot meet its deficit target and unemployment is still increasing. Recent polls have shown that a majority of his electorate wants him to resign before the end of his term. Currently, Hollande faces three key challenges: he has to win support in his government for key economic reforms, win over the electorate, and convince his European counterparts to accept the prolonged deficit delay. (Financial Times)
TTIP – A Chance for Chemistry
This article published in a German online magazine of the pharmaceutic industry, argues that TTIP could increase the competitiveness of the German economy, taking the example of German chemical firms. The article features an interview of two experts who assert that the recent criticism on TTIP is unqualified and merely a result of criticism of globalization, Anti- Americanism, and growing opposition to the EU. Despite certain reservations, the experts see TTIP as beneficial and elaborate on the positive implications for the German economy, more specifically for producers of machinery, automobiles and chemicals. (CHEManager) – Original article in German
UPS CFO: Transatlantic Trade Deal Would Benefit Skeptical Small Firms
In a recent piece for the Global Atlanta blog, Phil Bolton details a recent keynote address at an Emory University conference by UPS CFO Kurt Kuehn. Kuehn explained that while 95% of global consumers are outside of the United States, less than 2% of small and medium sized businesses export abroad. He attributes the lack of exportation to issues pertaining to international regulatory discrepancies and industry-specific barriers, which are on the agenda to address during the ongoing TTIP negotiations. TTIP, if done right, could therefore make life much easier for SMEs trying to do business abroad. (Global Atlanta)
Opinion: The Challenge of Releasing the Redback
Chris Brummer, C. Boyden Gray Fellow at the Atlantic Council, writes for the International Financial Law Review, discussing the rise of the Chinese RMB in the past few years and China’s need for cooperation with the European Union, the United States, and other international partners to successfully internationalize the country’s currency. Moving forward, financially regulatory approaches will need to be harmonized and coordinated internationally, especially in areas affecting trade financing and international transactions. (International Financial Law Review)
Seventh Round of TTIP Negotiations – September 29 – October 3 in Washington DC – a political stock-taking between Ambassador Froman and Commissioner De Gucht will follow the talks on October 13.
Public Sector Investment and its Impact on the World Economy – On September 22 in Washington, the Atlantic Council will host a high-level panel discussion about the increasing role of public investors in the international economy at the US launch of OMFIF’s new publication Global Public Investor (GPI) 2014 – Click here for more Information or to RSVP.
Cross Border Data Flows: Could Foreign Protectionism Hurt US Jobs? – September 17, in Washington DC; Energy & Commerce Committee of the United States House of Representatives – More Information
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to Speak at the Atlantic Council – September 18, in Washington DC; hosted by the Atlantic Council – This event will only be available via webcast only – More Information
The Future of Transatlantic Trade and the US- German Relationship – September 18 in Washington DC; hosted by the German Marshall Fund of the United States – More Information
The TPP: What’s at Stake for the United States? – September 18 in Washington DC; hosted by the US Chamber of Commerce – More Information
New Era for Turkey-USA-EU Perspectives on TTIP: Opportunities & Risks Conference – September 18-19, in Izmir, Turkey; hosted by ESBAŞ – More Information
Growing the Transatlantic Digital Economy – September 19 in Washington DC; hosted by the Progressive Policy Institute and the Lisbon Council – More Information
TTIP Road Show, Edinburgh, Scotland: The US-EU Trade Negotiations and the Coalition for Transatlantic Business – September 23 in Edinburgh, Scotland; hosted by British American Business – More Information
Breakfast Briefing on the European Banking Union – September 23 in New York, NY; hosted by the European-American Chamber of Commerce – More Information
Jobs and Economic Growth for Indianapolis: How TTIP Will Help – September 26 in Indianapolis, IN; hosted by the Trans-Atlantic Business Council – More Information
TTIP: Does It Still Have Support in Europe? – September 29 in New York, NY; hosted by the European-American Business Organization and the American Business Forum on Europe – More Information
What’s Next? Fostering the Next Generation of Energy Security Conference – September 30 in Washington DC; hosted by the American Security Project – More Information
Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership – October 2 in Philadelphia, PA; hosted by the British American Business Council – More Information
Launch of new Atlantic Council Publication: TTIP – Big Benefits for Small Companies – November 14 in Washington – More information forthcoming