Regulatory Cooperation under TTIP: Democracy on this Side of the Bridge

A week ago, the EU Commission announced that investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) will no longer be part of its proposals on TTIP. This was the Commission’s response to public contestation and fears that such a mechanism could place unjustified constraints on democratic institutions and on the capacity of states and of the EU to preserve their regulatory autonomy. The change announced by the Commission may be a step in the right direction. But there are other reasons of concern in the current Commission proposals, which have been overshadowed by the discussion on ISDS. Once the agreement is in place, how will decisions be made on the differences between EU and US regulation that could be usefully overcome? On which technical requirements are unnecessarily duplicated? On which standards should remain in place because they contend with health safety in a way that would not be compatible with EU standards? On which areas are too distinct to justify attempts at mutual recognition? Such issues will be decided, in a first instance, via regulatory cooperation between the EU and the US. Thus far there has been little debate on this chapter of TTIP. Yet, regulatory cooperation may remove decision-making further away from parliamentary oversight and impact on existing institutional balances in the EU.

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Greece: a constitutionalist’s two (euro)cents.

Greece is obviously at the forefront of many EU scholars’ minds over the past number of weeks. There has been an avalanche of commentary and analysis on the Greek bailout negotiations both from those with intimate knowledge of the situation and familiarity with Greek politics, the EMU and sovereign debt crises as well speculation from the sidelines from those of us more ignorant of these matters. Therefore as someone whose credibility in the debate (such as it is) is limited to the expertise of the constitutional lawyer with a good familiarity of EU law generally, I have limited my two (euro)cents on the topic to a number of (mostly factual) propositions related to the crisis for what they are worth. Most I think are obvious and (hopefully) few are contentious but I think that they are worth (re)stating in the context of the war of words and recrimination from all sides present in the debate in recent days.

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