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TTIP documents could be made public after EU court ruling

Sophie in 't Veld [European Parliament/Flickr]

Sophie in ‘t Veld [European Parliament/Flickr]

European Union documents relating to the EU-US trade deal, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), could be made public after a European Court of Justice ruling yesterday (3 July).

TTIP is currently being negotiated between the EU and US. It will be the biggest bilateral trade deal in history if completed, and covers a wide range of goods and services. The sixth rounds of talks are set to start this month.

While the European Commission has said the talks have been open, some civil society organisations and members of European Parliament, including European Parliament President Martin Schulz, have argued they are not transparent enough.

Wednesday’s ruling was in relation to a case brought by Dutch Liberal MEP Sophie in ‘t Veld against the EU Council of Ministers over access to a legal opinion about transfers of bank data to the US.

The case was not about TTIP but the ruling on a point of law on the EU regulation over public access to documents, strengthens the hand of anyone wishing to apply for similar EU papers related to the trade agreement.

European judges ruled that documents related to international activity, which would include TTIP,  are not automatically exempt from EU transparency requirements.

The Council must now give specific reasons why it would refuse such access. In the case, the Council argued that it had wide discretion not to disclose any document that threatened EU interests.

Negotiating documents, or those relating to negotiating strategy or revealing the positions of foreign parties to negotiations, are exempt from the transparency requirements of the regulation. But other documents could be requested and may shed more light on the institutions’ thinking, lawyers told EurActiv.

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This entry was posted on November 3, 2014 by in Journalism, TTIP and tagged , , , , , .

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