Labour MEPs: Commission’s EU trade strategy “step in right direction” but we need to see real action on transparency

Labour MEPs have welcomed the publication today of the European Commission’s new trade strategy, but called for action to back up the words, especially on transparency.

David Martin MEP, Socialists & Democrats Group spokesperson on international trade, said:

“With this publication, the Commission is finally listening to Labour MEPs and European citizens’ demands that international trade works for us all.

“For our Group, trade has never been an end in itself. Our values of sustainable development, transparency and fair trade are integral to economic growth and job creation. The Commission strategy is an important signal to our citizens and to partner countries around the world that EU trade policy is becoming more responsible.

“We warmly welcome these words, but words alone don’t make labour rights binding. They don’t give our citizens more access to documents, and they don’t pay a fair price for developing countries’ exports.

“Labour MEPs look forward to working closely with the Commission to translate this positive vision of EU trade policy into our legislation and trade agreements.”

Jude Kirton-Darling MEP, Labour’s European Parliament spokesperson on international trade, added:

“Labour MEPs welcome today’s Communication – it is undeniably a step in the right direction and reflects the concerns that Labour MEPs have been raising about current trade policy.

“Let’s be clear, the Commission’s first strategic objective must be to regain public trust in the EU’s trade policy. Trust is gained through actions not just words. The new trade strategy looks good on paper, but paper alone won’t do the trick. We urgently need concrete proposals and actions to make trade the servant of society and not the other way around.

“Trade deals such as TTIP must offer real solutions for consumers, workers and the environment, with real enforcement and monitoring instruments. Most importantly, the Commission needs to become a champion of transparency. Backroom closed door negotiations have been rejected by the general public.

“The Commission has everything to gain from continuing to lead the movement for transparency rather than being hamstrung by it.”