A BRAIN-TISA FOR JUNCKER AND TIMMERMANS
Who really calls the shots when it comes to EU trade policy – the USA or Germany?
The European Commission is caught between a rock and a hard place. Should it cave to US pressure over guaranteeing international data flows in the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA)?
Surrender could undermine brand spanking new EU privacy rules and cause an almighty ruckus in countries such as Germany. Berlin is still smarting from being spied on by stateside spooks.
But if the Commission doesn’t throw in the towel, TiSA could end up on the scrapheap or endure the same, purgatorial quasi-existence endured by the CETA and TTIP trade deals.
The Commission, true to form, has dreamt up a fudge to wriggle out of the tight spot it finds itself in. The compromise involves “very strong wording” to guarantee data protection, as EurActiv exclusively revealed today.
But no one has yet shown the wording to member states, who may well wonder if the US is plotting to undo the Privacy Shield initiative.
It is the executive’s very top brass – Juncker and Timmermans themselves – stopping the deal being shown to member states, sources alleged. That was swiftly denied by officials, who urgently whispered denials behind their beloved cloaks of anonymity.
The paralysis is understandable. The Commission, which is mandated to negotiate EU trade deals, has to get this right.
The EU can’t afford to appear protectionist after it dropped the ball on sealing TTIP before the end of the Obama Administration.
But it also can’t ignore national parliaments, which must ratify any deal. Look at CETA, struck with the famously inoffensive Canadians. It faces at least a bumpy ride and possibly shipwreck on the rocks of the Brussels and Wallonian parliaments.
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This Trump karaoke is pure genius.
LOOK OUT FOR…
Any Commission reaction whatsoever to the 150K-strong petition demanding exemplary punishment for ex-Commission boss Barroso for taking a job with Goldman Sachs. The petition, dreamt up by disgruntled EU officials, is being handed in tomorrow.