Published: Wed, 18 April 2018
Seán Kelly MEP and lead negotiator on the EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (FTA) for the Group of the European People’s Party, has called for faster progress on finalising the deal so that it can come before the European Parliament before the end of its current term for a final vote on the agreement.
Speaking from Strasbourg, following the EU Commission’s announcement that it has concluded the written procedure for the adoption of the EU-Singapore FTA today (Wednesday), Mr Kelly called on the Council to conclude their part as soon as possible:
“For Singapore, EU is the second largest trading partner and largest foreign investor. With over 14,000 EU companies, zero percent of natural resources, 90pc reliance on food imports and agricultural territory of only one percent, Singapore is a fantastic opportunity for both the EU and Ireland in particular.
“Today’s formal adoption of the written procedure is to be welcomed, but I would urge the EU governments to hasten their part of the process at the Council to allow the Parliament adequate time to conclude our part of the legislative process.
“The Singapore FTA negotiations were already concluded by 2013, but work to include investment protection into the deal, to which Singapore agreed, required additional time. Although all related technical work related was completed a few months ago, the Commission’s decision was delayed until this week.
“We are little over 12 months away from the end of this current parliamentary term and many legislative files will need to be processed under co-decision powers between Parliament and Council before then. We do not want the Singapore FTA to suffer further delays at Council level. The Council, representing national governments, must now review the agreement before it comes back to the Parliament for further scrutiny. It should arrive at the Parliament in enough time for MEPs to give their final verdict, whatever that may be,” Mr Kelly said.
The Ireland South MEP has co-signed a letter, with his MEP colleagues on the International Trade Committee of Parliament, to the Council relaying their concerns ahead of a first discussion by the Council on the FTA this coming Friday.
“I will continue to work with all relevant stakeholders on bringing the FTA to its fruition. It is our position that the European Parliament should vote on the FTA by the end of this year,” added Mr Kelly.