[A2k] Text of trade agreement with Singapore will be published before the summer

Ante Wessels ante at ffii.org
Mon Apr 15 10:18:30 PDT 2013


Text of trade agreement with Singapore will be published before the
summer
http://acta.ffii.org/?p=1822
with links

April 15, 2013
By Ante

Last week I wrote that the trade agreement with Singapore will
be secret until it enters into force. The statement was based on
an email from EU Trade Spokesperson John Clancy. It turns out
this is not correct, the text will be published before the
summer.

When I first contacted Mr Clancy, the FFII email server was
down. I used a personal email address. I asked:

“On 16 December the EU and Singapore completed final
negotiations on a free trade agreement (FTA) between the
European Union and Singapore. I can not find the text of the FTA
on the Commission’s website. Did the Commission publish the
text, could I receive the text?”

Mr Clancy answered:

“Political negotiations were completed in December 2012 between
the Commissioner and the Singapore Minister – the ‘handshake’
moment if you will.

However, there is between 18 months and 2 years of European
institutional and democratic process to go through (from
translating all the texts into all official EU languages, ‘legal
scrubbing’ (checking of the texts by lawyer/linguists),
signature of the Council (i.e. the Member States) before the
agreed text can go before the European Parliament for a final
‘Yes/No’ vote. Only if there is a positive ‘yes’ vote by the EP
does the agreement come into force and the text becomes ‘legal’
and is published.

We only wish – here at the Commission – that the time period
could be shorter but it is out of our hands I am afraid.

So, unfortunately the text is not available yet.” 

Today I had a phone call with Mr Clancy. He said that he had
thought I was an ordinary citizen. So he had just given me a
“snap explanation”, he summarized a complex process. If he would
have known I was involved with an organisation, he would have
been more accurate.

As I had simply asked whether I could receive the text, a
correct answer could have been: “After legal verification we
will publish the text on the website.”

Mr Clancy today said that the text will be published before the
summer. I promised to publish his more accurate answer:

“Following our telephone conversation earlier today, please
allow me to clarify my earlier email to you. The negotiations
for the EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement were completed in
December 2012 in Singapore. This draft text is now progressing
through the EU institutional process. This means that the draft
text is currently undergoing legal checks or 'legal scrubbing'
by the legal teams from both sides. When this is completed, the
draft text will be initialled after which we intend to rapidly
publish the text of the draft agreement on the DG trade website.
The draft text will then be translated into all EU languages.
The next step in the process is the formal European Commission
endorsement of the draft agreement. Afterwards, the Council of
the EU will be formally asked to approve the agreement. Finally,
the draft text will then be voted upon by Members of the
European Parliament in Plenary Session at a time of their
choosing.

Only if there is a 'positive vote' by the European Parliament
does the text become 'legal' and valid.  The Free Trade
Agreement then enters into force after its publication in the
Official Journal of the European Union. It was this formal
publication of the final text I had in mind when we had
initially been in contact. But as mentioned, the draft text will
be made publicly available much earlier.

Thank you for the opportunity to provide this clarification to
your organisation.”





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