04:58 GMT29 May 2020
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    The General Court of the European Union said it had annulled the European Commission's decision to oppose the European Citizens' Initiative (ECI) against the US-EU Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).

    BRUSSELS (Sputnik) — Following the European Commission's refusal to register the ECI in July 2014, the "Stop TTIP" activists filed a lawsuit at the court to force the commission to review its policy and hold a hearing in the European Parliament.

    "By today’s judgment, the General Court upholds the action and annuls the Commission decision. The General Court rejects the Commission’s position according to which the decision seeking to withdraw from it authorization to open negotiations with a view to concluding the TTIP could not be the subject of a European citizens’ initiative," the court's statement, published on Wednesday, read.

    According to the court, nothing justifies excluding legal acts, such as the decision to start talks on international agreements, from democratic debate.

    "The General Court notes in particular that the principle of democracy, which is one of the fundamental values of the EU, and the objective behind the European citizens’ initiatives requires an interpretation of the concept of legal act which covers legal acts such as a decision to open negotiations with a view to concluding an international agreement, which (like the TTIP and the CETA) manifestly seeks to modify the legal order of the EU," the statement said.

    According to the Stop TTIP website, the commission blocked the registration of the initiative claiming that the negotiation mandates on both agreements were not legal acts but internal preparatory acts between EU institutions and therefore could not be contested through the ECI.

    Anti-TTIP activists criticize the opaque negotiations on both trade deals and are concerned that they will benefit multinational corporations and corporate rights-holders at the expense of sovereign nations and consumers.

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    Tags:
    European Union, The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), TTIP, European Commission, United States
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