[REPONSE]Question écrite à la Commission de João Ferreira (GUE/NGL)- Accord de libre échange/de partenariat économique entre l’UE et le Japon, E-002200-18

Niveau juridique : Union européenne

Question écrite à la Commission de João Ferreira (GUE/NGL)- Accord de libre échange/de partenariat économique entre l’UE et le Japon, E-002200-18

Texte de la question :

« The Commission has submitted to the Council the results of negotiations with Japan for a free trade agreement between that country and the EU.

However, negotiations with Japan remain ongoing on standards for ‘investment protection’ and the settlement of ‘investment protection’ disputes.

According to the press release issued by the Commission, it intends for the agreement to enter in force before the end of its current mandate, in 2019.

The Commission states: ‘the agreement negotiated with Japan has grown in scope and depth to an extent that is more accurately reflected in the designation Economic Partnership Agreement. In the same vein as other agreements concluded recently by the EU, the partnership with Japan goes beyond trade issues only.’

Given the foregoing, and the Commission’s reticence to submit agreements in similar areas for ratification by the Member States — as was the case with the agreement with Canada (CETA) — I would like to request detailed information on the process of ratifying this agreement. Does the Commission acknowledge that this is a mixed agreement and that, as such, it must be ratified by each of the 28 Member States? »

Texte de la réponse donnée par Mme Malmström au nom de la Commission

« Pursuant to the Treaties, and following Opinion 2/15 of the Court of Justice clarifying the areas that fall under the exclusive competence of the European Union, the Commission is convinced that the current Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with Japan should be concluded by the Union. This is why the Commission has proposed to the Council the signature and adoption of the EU-Japan EPA as an EU-only agreement. This means that the conclusion of the EU-Japan EPA would only need approval by the Council and consent of the European Parliament. The roles of the Council and Parliament ensure legitimacy and inclusiveness of the adoption process — in particular, this process allows Member States’ governments to consult their national parliaments before taking a position in the Council.

It should also be noted that on the issue of investment protection, while significant progress has been made so far, further discussions between the EU and Japan are still needed, notably on the main issue that remains open: the mechanism for resolving investment protection disputes. Separate negotiations will therefore continue in parallel to the adoption process of the EPA. Based on Opinion 2/15, it is very likely that an eventual agreement would be mixed if it contains a mechanism for resolving investment disputes between investors and states. The Commission has recently proposed as mixed an investment protection agreement with Singapore with content of that nature. »

Texte de la question disponible ici