[A2k] Trade agreement with Singapore secret until it enters into force

Ante Wessels ante at ffii.org
Fri Apr 12 05:41:18 PDT 2013

[ Trade / Economy / Innovation ]
Trade agreement with Singapore secret until it enters into force

Brussels, 12 April 2013 -- The EU Commission decided to keep the
trade agreement with Singapore secret until it enters into
force. With this decision the Commission betrays European
citizens and democracy, according to the Foundation for a Free
Information Infrastructure (FFII). 

In December 2012 EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht and
Singapore's Minister of Trade and Industry Lim Hng Kiang
completed final negotiations on a free trade agreement between
the European Union and Singapore. The FFII wanted to analyse
whether the text of the agreement is compatible with human
rights enshrined in the UN International Covenant on Economic,
Social and Cultural Rights. The FFII noted the Commission had
not published the text and asked where it could be found.

EU Trade Spokesperson John Clancy wrote the FFII: "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."

European and Singaporean citizens will not be able to scrutinize
the text and provide input to parliaments. It will not be
possible to make a human rights impact assessment. Parliaments
will not be able to openly discuss the agreement, they will have
to adopt or reject a secret text. 

FFII analyst Ante Wessels: "The European Parliament
overwhelmingly voted down the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade
Agreement (ACTA) after citizens pointed out it would violate
their human rights. This time the Commission hopes to have a
'better result' by keeping the text secret until it enters into
force. This is nothing less than an assault on democracy.
Without democracy, the union becomes an empire led by
technocrats, disregarding human rights. The union is entering a
dark era."

Letter EU Trade Spokesperson John Clancy to FFII

"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."


EU and Singapore agree on landmark trade deal (16/12/2012)

FFII trade blog

Permanent link to this press release:


Ante Wessels 
ante (at) ffii.org 
+31 6 100 99 063 

FFII Office Berlin 
Malmöer Str. 6 
D-10439 Berlin 
Fon: +49-30-41722597 
Fax Service: +49-721-509663769
Email: office (at) ffii.org

About FFII

The FFII is a not-for-profit association active in twenty
European countries, dedicated to the development of information
goods for the public benefit, based on copyright, free
competition, open standards. More than 1000 members, 3,500
companies and 100,000 supporters have entrusted the FFII to act
as their voice in public policy questions concerning exclusion
rights (intellectual property) in data processing.

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