Paris, September 19, 2014
At a first meeting with the National Assembly’s Economic, Environmental and Regional Planning Committee on 17 September, Matthias Fekl, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, the Promotion of Tourism and French Nationals Abroad, stressed the importance of democratic transparency in trade agreement negotiations the European Union is conducting with its partners. The Minister of State’s first official letter following his appointment, to Karel De Gucht, Commissioner for Trade, provided an opportunity to reaffirm this strong belief and support the French demand to publicize the Transatlantic Partnership negotiating mandate. It is a basic democratic issue of vital importance to which France is paying close attention.
Matthias Fekl asserted his wish to make France’s voice heard at every stage of these negotiations in order to defend the offensive interests of our export companies, particularly SMEs, for the benefit of growth and jobs, but also to ensure that the red lines laid down by France are respected. On 15 October, he will participate in the informal meeting of European foreign trade ministers, at which he will defend this point of view. He will call a meeting of civil society representatives as well as the fourth strategic committee on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) before the European Council of Ministers’ meeting on 21 November, building on the initiatives taken by his predecessors over the past two years. He will obviously be at the disposal of Parliament members at every stage.
For Matthias Fekl, “in the information society era, transparency in trade negotiations is a democratic imperative, in France as in Europe. People have the right to know what is being negotiated on their behalf and be able to discuss it. I am also very committed to parliaments fully playing their role of providing information and monitoring”./.