For a background to this European Citizens Initiative see https://ordoliberalism.wordpress.com/2015/01/30/against-the-ttip/.
The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is being challenged by the ECI (European Citizens Initiative). The movement now has more than fulfilled the requirements for such an initiative both in terms of absolute numbers and a spread of member states. But t is being opposed at every stage by the European Commission. See below and on the webpage What is the problem? is set out how the EC is negotiating in secret with large companies whose interests are involved. The package of deals once agreed can then only be accepted or rejected as a whole. This is typical EU secrecy and bureaucracy.
The number of signatures is now at 1.63 million and growing. The latest number can be found here: https://stop-ttip.org. The website is in English, French, German, Italian and Spanish.
It is good to make a legal challenge, though the European Court of Justice can hardly be described as detached and objective, it is too close to the centre of power in the EU, and there is no right of appeal against its decisions.
LAWSUIT AT THE ECJ:
On 10 November 2014, the Stop TTIP coalition has filed a lawsuit against the European Commission at the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Luxembourg. The lawsuit relates to a decision that was made by the Commission to block a ‘European Citizen’s Initiative’ (ECI) on the controversial EU-USA trade deal known as TTIP and a similar deal with Canada (CETA). The Initiative, if successful would have forced the Commission to review its policy on the deals and to hold a hearing in the European parliament.
Stop TTIP applied for registration of the European Citizens’ Initiative on 15 July. On 11 September, the Commission rejected this application, using two main arguments: Firstly, the Commission claims that the negotiating mandates on TTIP and CETA are not legal acts but internal preparatory acts between EU institutions and therefore not contestable via an ECI. Secondly, the Commission claims that it cannot make negative ratification proposals and therefore cannot comply with the ECI demand not to conclude the CETA and TTIP negotiations. We believe these arguments don’t hold legal scrutiny and are politically motivated (for more details, see here).
Here some more documents related to the lawsuit:
Background information: Media Backgrounder. The Commission’s reasons for rejection can be understood as follows: It claims that its work is incomplete and so any evaluation has to wait until the Commissars are ready with their consultations with vested interests. This is clearly an attempt to deny access to the Commission’s secret negotiations. The claim that the work of the Commission is incomplete and so a rejection is inappropriate.
This in effect would limit any citizens’ comment until after the negotiations are finished and signed, which is self-contradictory. Clearly the Commissariat does not want citizen insight into what the Commissars are doing.
Legal opinion regarding the admissibility of a European Citizens’ Initiative against TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) and CETA (Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement) by Professor Dr. jur . Bernhard Kempen, University of Cologne: Download