A broader Transatlantic partnership
Delivered in Plenary - 12th June 2013
I have just attended a party to say goodbye to US Ambassador to the EU, William Kennard, and I am conscious of the fact that there are no stronger Atlanticists in this Parliament than my group, the ECR. I join colleagues from across this Chamber in welcoming a broader transatlantic partnership, specifically through the institution of a TTIP agreement between the EU and the USA.
We can be in no doubt that such a transatlantic trade and investment partnership agreement is a few years away, and it will be subject, of course, to the most vigorous and intricate negotiations. We must support it and campaign for it tirelessly and wholeheartedly. Indeed, the next few years present a truly unique opportunity to develop a bloc of liberal, free-market democracies which can exchange goods and services without encumbrances and promote jobs and economic growth.
To achieve this, we must also seek to link any agreement with NAFTA. For instance, Canada and Mexico are at the moment in the middle of negotiating EU FTAs – Mexico has already got one. Indeed, there is a transatlantic partnership currently under negotiation, a move which would spread to the Pacific, the TPP – stretching free trade from Europe, through North America, to Australia and New Zealand, to Chile and Malaysia.
We must, however, be vigilant that narrow protectionist concerns do not disrupt this project. In particular, on the audiovisual issue, France cannot hope to turn back the cultural tide. In any case, there is no evidence that France’s rightly celebrated film and media industry would be imperilled by a free trade agreement with the Americans. In a world in which China, with its uncertain intentions, becomes ever more powerful, we need a strong economic alliance of liberal democracies across the Atlantic. So I join all colleagues tonight in congratulating Mr Millán Mon on his excellent report.