The agreement to execute a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (ΤΤΙΡ) is the first major attempt to create a trading union between the EU and North America under an ambitious trade agreement. The agreement involves pairing up on numerous matters in order to standardise standards in the goods and services sector and strengthen trade relations on both sides of the Atlantic.
However, a major debate is already under way on the repercussions that such an agreement might have on employment standards in Europe and on society as a whole. This brings to the forefront the need to create qualitative and quantitative links between the impact of the obligations created by the agreement and social and employment indices.
In view of the above, will the Commission say:
1. What impact does it believe the TTIP will have on workers’ rights and working conditions?
2. In the event that negative repercussions on workers’ rights and working conditions are identified, what safety valves does it intend to put in place to contain any such repercussions?
3. Does it intend to include a precautionary clause in the agreement granting the EU the facility to intervene if and when elements of the agreement have negative repercussions on workers' rights and working conditions in the EU?
Answer given by Ms Malmström on behalf of the Commission
The EU and the US have different domestic policies and rules in the labour area, but share a commitment to high levels of protection. The Commission is confident that the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) will have a positive impact on labour rights and working conditions on both sides of Atlantic. The Sustainability Impact Assessment (SIA) currently under preparation will provide an in-depth analysis of the likely impacts of the Agreement in these areas, as well as recommendations on how to address possible negative impacts. The results of the SIA are expected to be available by the end of 2015(1).
Furthermore, the EU aims to include ambitious provisions on labour rights in TTIP. In this regard, the Commission would like to refer the Honourable Member to the EU's public position papers(2) on Trade and Sustainable Development, including labour issues.