Brussels, 21 March 2016. EPHA, EHN and EASL maintain their reservations about Regulatory Cooperation and Good Regulatory Practices in TTIP.

We welcome the reversed focus of the text by having included the right to regulate for the public interest in the core text and mentioning public health but the risks of increased bureaucracy, decreased transparency and reduced democratic accountability still hover in the European Commission’s revised proposal published today. Moreover, the EU’s proposals risk institutionalising corporate lobbying.

It is claimed that the proposals on regulatory cooperation and good regulatory practices are voluntary but this is not borne out by the language in the text nor by the EU’s stated ambition for TTIP to be a ‘living agreement’. We have serious concerns about the boundaries of the regulatory cooperation as these are not clearly defined in the proposals.

We fundamentally disagree with the incorporation of principles of good law-making into a bilateral trade and investment agreement. ‘Good Regulatory Practices’ and ‘Better Regulation’ are not constant. Today’s prevailing interpretation of these concepts may not be tomorrow’s – they have no place in TTIP.

“There is a major problem with the ‘living agreement’ approach, which leaves the door open to come back to extremely sensitive and controversial issues later, such as trade in health services or pharmaceuticals. We have to assume this is intended to leave the door open to come back to tricky problems a later stage of the negotiations, perhaps when there is less public scrutiny.” said Nina Renshaw, EPHA Secretary General and Member of the Commission’s TTIP Advisory Group.

"Regulatory cooperation should never be mandatory. The EU and its member states must remain free to go ahead with regulation to promote public health in their territories irrespective of the US’s views – and vice versa." Stated Susanne Løgstrup, Director of the European Heart Network (EHN), Member of the Commission’s TTIP Advisory Group.

EPHA, EHN and EASL have participated in a joint analysis of public interest members of the TTIP Advisory Group sent to the TTIP negotiators on the draft proposal before its publication which welcome some changes in the revised proposal while clarifying that some elements have not changed or have even worsened, to an alarming degree.

The joint analysis points out that 1. the scope of regulatory cooperation is still too broad; 2. our recommendation to secure an exchange of information between regulators on a voluntary basis has only been partially taken into account; 3. a couple of sections use the platform of a trade agreement - instead of democratic decision-making - to decide on principles of law-making; and 4. the proposal partially aims at regulating impact assessments through TTIP.

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The European Public Health Alliance (EPHA) is a change agent – Europe’s leading NGO advocating for better health. We are a dynamic member-led organisation, made up of public health NGOs, patient groups, health professionals, and disease groups working together to improve health and strengthen the voice of public health in Europe. EPHA is a member of, among others, the Social Platform, the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL), the EU Civil Society Contact Group and the Better Regulation Watchdog. http://www.epha.org/

The European Heart Network (EHN) is a Brussels-based alliance of heart foundations and likeminded non-governmental organisations throughout Europe, with member organisations in 25 countries. The EHN plays a leading role in the prevention and reduction of cardiovascular diseases, in particular heart disease and stroke, through advocacy, networking, capacity-building and patient support, so that they are no longer a major cause of premature death and disability throughout Europe. http://www.ehnheart.org/

The European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL) is a membership organisation for hepatology health professionals based in Geneva (Switzerland). EASL currently has just over 4,000 members from over 100 countries. The EASL annual congress now attracts over 10,000 participants and is the biggest medical liver congress in the world. EASL will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2015. http://www.easl.eu/

For further questions, please contact: Zoltán MASSAY-KOSUBEK, Policy Coordinator for Healthy Trade and Health Equity zoltan@epha.org +32 2233 3872 @EU_ZMK

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Last modified on March 22 2016.