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March 13 2015

surveyork
15:01

A controversial trade deal being negotiated between the European Union and the United States risks an unacceptable “race to the bottom” on environmental standards, MPs have warned.

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) could weaken European and UK regulation in areas including genetically modified crops, chemicals in cosmetics and meat treated with growth hormones, as a result of efforts to align standards between the US, where rules are laxer, and the EU.

A report by the parliamentary Environmental Audit Committee also suggested it could make it harder to strengthen rules on issues such as animal welfare or climate change – particularly if the deal allows US companies to sue governments for bringing in new regulations that harm their business.

surveyork
14:58

France has blamed a communication "failure" after EurActiv revealed the existence of a letter instructing French MEPs how to vote on the controversial question of ISDS. Paris tried to rectify the error by sending another confidential letter to MEPs on 4 March. EurActiv France reports.

On 26 February, EurActiv France published the contents of a letter advising French MEPs on the official French position on the investor-state dispute settlement mechanism (ISDS) in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement.

The letter, from the French Secretariat General for European Affairs (SGAE), was relaxed about the question of international arbitration tribunals, contrary to the harder line previously adopted by the government.

October 02 2014

surveyork
18:07

the U.S. Department of Commerce dumped another set of documents as a result of our request. One particular email from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) — highlighted earlier this morning in Der Spiegel — caught our attention. It reveals how the Home Affairs department of the European Commission (DG Home) has been working alongside the U.S. administration during the early stages of the privacy reform effort.

The email is between staff working at the NTIA of the Department of Commerce. The email makes reference to the drafting of one of the lobby documents the Obama administration produced to influence the outcome of the data protection reform package (read EDRi’s analysis on the paper here). This is one of the many documents which likely contributed to a diluting of the Data Protection Regulation even before the proposal had been made public.

The email indicates that Commissioner Malmström and/or her cabinet had been sharing information with the U.S. Mission in the E.U., including appropriate times to publish the lobby document, information about internal politics within the Commission, and concerns about how the proposal for a Data Protection Directive could conflict with E.U. and U.S. Law Enforcement interests. In short, DG Home has been actively working to undermine a crucial reform for E.U. citizens’ fundamental rights to privacy and data protection.

For many who have been following the E.U. privacy reform debate closely, this trans-Atlantic cooperation was an open secret. However, until now, it has not been possible to demonstrate DG Home’s maneuvers. Beyond the implications for the Data Protection Reform, the contents of the acquired document give cause for concern about Ms. Malmström’s suitability for leading EU negotiations with the USA on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), given that she has recently been chosen E.U. Commissioner-designate for Trade.

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