Member of the European Parliament, Marietje Schaake (ALDE/D66), wants the European Member States to take more responsibility in the debate about the EU-US trade agreement under negotiation (TTIP). European leaders today discussed the state of play of negotiations and decided to more actively engage in the debate. Schaake: "The Member States gave the European Commission the mandate to negotiate a broad and ambitious agreement with the US. They have the best information on what such an agreement could mean for their citizens. That is why it is essential that they take the responsibility to explain what TTIP is and what it is not about and what the possible effects could be. We need an informed debate, so that we can make sure we get a good agreement that benefits Europeans." Export The European Union's GDP is heavily dependent on trade and export. Schaake: "Europe as a trading bloc has much to gain from trade agreements and strengthening global rules-based trade. Because the volume of trade with the US is already so great, small changes can have large effects. However, that does not mean we should sign an agreement at any price. Our standards on environment, food safety and health must not be lowered. All the major players in the negotiations have already agreed that that is not what they want. At the end of the negotiations the European Parliament will have to ratify the agreement." Strategic importance TTIP is not only an economic project, it is also of strategic importance. Schaake: "The world around us is changing and new economies are rising fast. They are trying to realise growth at any cost and do not share our values for consumer protection, labour laws or human rights. The way China operates in Africa is just one example. If Europe and the US, as the two largest economic blocs in the world, do not seize this moment to set the standard, we risk others doing it for us, with all the consequences that entails." See also: 13-01-2015 MEP: Commission must show more ambition after results ISDS consultation 07-01-2015 Marietje Schaake responds to publishing TTIP documents 19-11-2014 ISDS – what’s going on?