New study: Ratification of TTIP and CETA in the EU Member States

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Summary

+ TTIP and CETA will most likely also have to be ratified by EU Member States.
+ Except for Malta and the United Kingdom the parliaments of all EU Member States would need to give their consent and could therefore bring down TTIP and CETA.
+ In half of all EU Member States referenda would be possible.
+ Whether CETA and TTIP can be ratified as planned, is not as evident as proponents claim.

1. Ratification Process of CETA and TTIP in the EU Member States – Why is this interesting?

• International agreements such as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership between EU and USA (TTIP) and the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement with Canada (CETA) can be ratified in several ways: An “EU-only agreement” would involve Member States solely via the European Council and only require an approval from the European Parliament. A “mixed agreement” on the other hand would in addition have to be adopted by the parliaments of EU Member States. A participation of individual Members States is necessary when a treaty contains issues or themes for which the EU has no competence. In the event of such a “lack of competence” both, EU and Member States conclude together the treaty with the contracting partner.

• It can be assumed that TTIP and CETA are mixed agreements: According to EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström CETA and TTIP are “very likely” mixed agreements. The EU chief negotiator Ignacio Garcia Bercero claims that some elements of TTIP are beyond European competence and therefore would require to be ratified by Member States. Germany’s government for example, assumes that TTIP is a mixed agreement. With regards to CETA Germany’s Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs commissioned a legal expertise from Prof. Dr. Franz C. Mayer. It concludes that CETA is a mixed agreement. Since TTIP is even more extensive, it can be assumed that this also applies to TTIP.

• Within this context, Dr. Anna Eschbach from the Institute of International Law and Comparative Public Law at the University of Cologne examined the ratification processes in each Member State.

2. Ratification process of the parliaments: single or multi-chamber systems

• In all Member States except for Malta and the UK a parliamentary approval process is necessary – the country’s constitutions define the approval procedure’s conditions and determine which chambers of parliament are involved in the decision-making.

• The following states are unicameral: Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Croatia, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Portugal, Sweden, Slovakia, Hungary, Cyprus.

• CETA and TTIP have to be passed through two parliamentary chambers in: Belgium, Germany, France, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Czech Republic.

3. Where are Referenda for Ratification possible?

• In half of all Member States referenda on the approval of international treaties are possible: Bulgaria, Denmark, France, Greece, Ireland, Croatia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Hungary, Great Britain. Certain requirements have to be complied with in each country.

• Parliaments, Presidents and/or governments can initiate a referendum in the following countries: Bulgaria, Denmark, France, Greece, Austria, Poland, Romania, United Kingdom.

• Citizens themselves can initiate a referendum in the following countries:

➢ Croatia: 10 percent of the eligible voters can request a referendum from parliament.
➢ Lithuania: 300,000 citizens can call on their parliament for a referendum;
➢ Slovakia: A question e.g. through a citizens petition can be defined to be of “public interest.” The country’s Constitutional Court then examines if a referendum will be consistent with the constitution.
➢ Hungary: 200,000 eligible voters or 100,000 eligible voters and the President can propose a referendum;
➢ The Netherlands: since July 2015 300,000 citizens can request a non-binding referendum from their Parliament.

4. What does “Stop TTIP” demand?

• TTIP and CETA are interfering with the regulatory competences of politics. In being international treaties they restrict the scope of parliamentary decision-making and limit the sovereignty of citizens. This should not be allowed to happen.

• In countries where referenda on CETA and TTIP are possible, parliaments and governments should not decide above and beyond their citizens.

• European Citizens’ Initiatives (ECI) on international treaties should, as a minimum, be allowed at the EU level. An ECI demanding the non-conclusion of a treaty should be admitted. Our StopTTIP ECI, however, was rejected and that’s why we are currently challenging the European Commission’s decision in the European Court of Justice.