Who’s Who & Who’s New?
Now that incoming European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has announced the proposed composition of the next Commission, TTIP Action will introduce several of the new commissioners, their portfolios, and their role in the European Union over the course of the next several weeks. Today’s edition introduces Cecilia Malmström, the incoming commissioner for Trade.
“I am very honored and proud to be nominated as the new Trade Commissioner. Trade is a vital part of Europe’s economic recovery and a cornerstone of our prosperity. We have much to gain from getting rid of barriers and opening new markets,” Ms. Malmström tweeted yesterday in response to the announcement. Make sure you follow her on Twitter at @MalmstromEU, and be sure to follow @TTIPAction as well if you’re not already.
Formerly commissioner in charge of Home Affairs, Cecilia Malmström will be the new EU Commissioner for Trade from November 2, 2014 onwards if confirmed by the European Parliament. One of her major priorities will obviously be the completion of the ongoing TTIP negotiations. She has deemed TTIP “a very important agreement for both Europe and the United States which can lead to many jobs and economic growth. It is a key part of the economic recovery in Europe.” Malmström is a member of the liberal ALDE group in the European Parliament and Sweden’s liberal Folkpartiet, and thus is a supporter of free trade and open markets. She is eager to help refute some of the popular misconceptions about the agreement, and has underlined that a core part of her mission is to ensure greater transparency of the negotiating process. Malmström is certainly aware of the challenges ahead, but is looking forward to her new opportunity to help bridge the Atlantic through a fair and ambitious TTIP agreement. – Original article in Swedish (SvD Nyheter)
The New York Times sees her appointment as trade commissioner as a clear signal of renewed European interest and underlined commitment to securing an ambitious transatlantic deal.
Speeches and Official Announcements
Memo – Questions and Answers: The Juncker Commission
Following the release of the new proposed makeup of the next European Commission, the Commission issued a memo on the many upcoming changes, the allocation of responsibilities, and the role of the new Commission’s influential vice presidents who will have greater oversight responsibilities than ever before. (Europa)
Euractiv has published a very helpful infographic which provides a great overview over the new designated commissioners.
EU Repeats Demand for Energy Chapter in US Trade Treaty
“It is important that we come forward with a position on that [energy agreement] as soon as possible, because maybe you may have noticed that some things are going on in Europe… I cannot imagine that there will ever be a TTIP without such [energy] provisions,” the outgoing EU trade chief Karel de Gucht underlined in a press briefing after meeting with US trade representative Mike Froman on Monday. The ongoing crisis with Russia has increased European desire to diversify its energy sources and sparked a renewed demand for the inclusion of an energy chapter in TTIP. (EU Observer)
Juncker Delivers on Commitment to Female Commissioners
The official release of Juncker’s portfolios for the new Commission members on Wednesday has shown that President Juncker has succeeded in promoting a greater gender balance in the Commission which will include nine women in total. Three out of seven vice presidents will be women, with Bulgarian Kristalina Georgieva in charge of the Commission’s budget, Slovenian Alenka Bratušek in charge of Energy Union, and Italian Federica Mogherini as the next High Representative for Foreign Policy. The six remaining women have received the key portfolios of Justice, Regional Policy, Employment, the EU’s Internal Market, Trade, and Competition. (Euractiv)
Buzek says Hearings Schedule can be Decided quickly
Buzek, a center-right Polish MEP who leads the chairs of the European Parliament’s 22 committees and sub-committees, is convinced that despite the fundamental reorganization of the college of Commissioners into clusters, the hearings schedule for the new Commission posts can be decided swiftly. Hearings will start on September 29, and the vote on the new college by the full Parliament is scheduled for October 21. (European Voice)
Campaign to Deny Obama Trade Authority Grows
Shawn Donnan, the world trade editor of the Financial Times, reports that over 500 national and regional labor and environmental groups signed a letter sent Wednesday to Senator Wyden, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, pressuring Congress to change the way trade policy is created, calling for a rejection of trade promotion authority. Administration officials are confident that bipartisan support exists for the renewal of the TPA after the November elections, but these groups are raising political pressures against TPA. (Financial Times)
Mission Letter to Cecilia Malmström
In the mission letter to his new trade Commissioner-designate Cecilia Malmström, Jean-Claude Juncker lays out the priorities for her five year term, in which she is supposed to work closely with the vice-president for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, on a strong foreign economic policy. One priority is to advance both bilateral trade negotiations and multilateral agreements under the umbrella of the WTO in order to secure sources for growth and jobs. In that light, Juncker stresses the importance of the conclusion of a transparent, reasonable and balanced TTIP agreement with the United States. (Europa)
Similar to the mission letter by Juncker, Bruegel has drafted a memo to the new trade commissioner, presenting the challenges of promoting the benefits of a robust multilateral trade agenda, responding to the rise of regionalism worldwide, and finding a solution to the challenge posed by competitive emerging trade powers. The authors stress the importance of TTIP as a potential game changer for both the European Union and the transatlantic alliance and call on Malmström to reach a comprehensive, transparent, and inclusive agreement by 2015.
Fair Trade Agreement with United States has only Winners
In her opinion piece in the Dutch newspaper Volkskrant, Dutch minister for foreign trade and development cooperation, Lilianne Ploumen makes a strong case for TTIP, explaining how its conclusion will be beneficial for Dutch consumers, citizens, and employees alike. In addition, she is convinced that the benefits of TTIP will extend beyond Dutch and European borders if facts prevail over myths so that a modern, transparent, and fair trade agreement can be reached. (Volkskrant) – Original article in Dutch
Transatlantic Trends 2014
Against the background of increasingly grave foreign policy challenges in the past year, the German Marshall Fund released the 13th edition of their “Transatlantic Trends” report yesterday. The survey for the report asks citizens of several European and North American nations important questions on the nature of transatlantic cooperation, the future of NATO and the European project, negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program, the impact of migration, and the West’s relations with Russia. The responses are still heavily influenced by the repercussions of the economic crisis and portray a complex but changing relationship between the United States and the European Union. (German Marshall Fund)
Download the full report here.
Top EU Economic Jobs go to Center-Right Juncker Allies
This Financial Times article explains the implications of the new composition of the European Union’s economic core. Juncker, President-elect of the European Commission has gathered mostly center-right allies with reputations of fiscal discipline to fill the key economic posts of the incoming European Commission. This will make it difficult for politicians to divert from the European Union’s current approach promoting fiscal austerity and structural reforms to combat the economic crisis. (Financial Times)
France’s Moscovici Wins coveted EU Economics Job but Looks Isolated
In his opinion piece, Peter Spiegel discusses the set- up of the economic core of the incoming commission. He observes that incoming French Commissioner Pierre Moscovici is likely to be the sole advocate for more flexibility in the EU’s budget rules. He will report to Finn Jyrki Katainen, a defender of fiscal austerity. The two Commissioners embody the economic battle between two camps – the German-led camp of the European North insisting on austerity, against the Italian and French-led European South who advocates more flexibility of the rules. (Financial Times)
Europe has to do Whatever it Takes
In his column, Martin Wolf describes the current state of the Eurozone, making three important observations: the Eurozone is in depression, the lack of demand has exacerbated the situation, and the ECB cannot meet its own price-stability target. Wolf evaluates the recent measures taken by the ECB but stresses the need to go further; he suggests to use whatever instruments possible which could induce growth, raise demand and supply potential, and improve competitiveness. (Financial Times)
A Brave (though Flawed) Attempt at a Shake-up
This editorial from European Voice praises the restructuring of the Commission as proposed on Wednesday by Juncker, who introduced vice presidents and equipped them with more powers than their predecessors to oversee an otherwise unwieldy group of 28 commissioners. Understandably, Juncker has emphasized job creation and economic recovery. However, the author has serious doubts concerning the experience of some commissioners, and Juncker’s distribution of certain portfolios. (European Voice)
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.
Breakfast Seminar The Return of The Celtic Tiger: Investment and Innovation in Ireland – September 16 in Washington DC – hosted by the National Foreign Trade 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