Plenary speech on the upcoming EU-US summit and Transatlantic Economic Council - EU-US Data Protection Agreement

Marietje Schaake (ALDE) – Mr President, to be a credible partner and to act as a global player, the EU needs to speak with one voice. President Obama and his administration have rightly made this known, and we need to be able to honestly criticise each other like that. This is necessary to ensure a credible transatlantic relationship characterised by complementarity and coordination. How can we work together on defending human rights, the rule of law and democracy in this world when Hillary Clinton gives a speech on a vision for global Internet freedom while the US is insisting on keeping the negotiations on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) non-transparent, leading to tremendous concerns about Internet freedom? This is contradictory and undermines our credibility. Why do we have to learn through leaked documents that torture was inflicted and condoned in Iraq? We call for an independent inquiry. Why could the Commission not answer my question about requests made by the US Administration with regard to criminal measures against Wikileaks? Does it consider the transatlantic relationship more important than questions from MEPs? Why does the US push European companies to take sanctions beyond those taken by the EU regarding Iran? The US should respect the EU’s independence and its complementary role. Both the EU and the US have to work transparently, respect each other’s independence and allow for democratic scrutiny of our actions. Is it not that which distinguishes us – the US and the EU – from others, most notably with regard to fundamental freedoms and human rights?