The decision of the European Ombudsman on her own-initiative concerning transparency in TTIP was published on 7 January 2015. The message is clear: the European Commission needs to increase the transparency of the TTIP negotiations.

While the European Ombudsman welcomes the progress made by the Commission including the initiative of enhanced transparency announced by Trade Commissioner Malmström on 25 November 2014, she has made ten recommendations on how to further improve transparency. This includes the public access to consolidated negotiating texts, greater proactive disclosure of TTIP documents and increased transparency as regards meetings that Commission officials hold on TTIP with business organisations, lobby groups or NGOs.

The European Ombudsman stated: "The Commission has made real efforts to make the TTIP negotiations more transparent. I am aware that the Commission at times needs to talk to the US confidentially to be able to negotiate effectively. However, US resistance to publishing certain TTIP documents is not in itself sufficient to keep them from the European public. The Commission has to ensure at all times that exceptions to the EU citizens' fundamental right to get access to documents are well-founded and fully justified."

The Ombudsman's recommendations to the European Commission were also based on the contributions to the public consultation on transparency in TTIP negotiations. The main points of the submissions to the public consultation are summarised in the report  TTIP Transparency and public participation.

These recommendations reflect well the points raised by ETUCE in its response to the public consultation such as the accessibility of TTIP negotiating documents in a much more proactive way and the equal treatment of citizens by giving all stakeholders the same access to documents.

The European Ombudsman concluded that further steps of transparency are needed to increase the legitimacy and public trust of the TTIP negotiations.

The decision of the European Ombudsman on her own-initiative concerning transparency in TTIP

The report on the European Ombudsman's public consultation TTIP Transparency and public participation

The ETUCE response to the public consultation on transparency in TTIP negotiations