On March 3, 2016, the European Parliament’s committee on human rights (DROI) organised a public hearing after the European Commission was found guilty of maladministration by the European Ombudsman, for not carrying out a Human Rights Impact Assessment (HRIA) for the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (FTA).
FIDH was invited to present its view on the subject, as it had, together with its member organisation Vietnam Centre for Human Rights (VCHR), filed the complaint with the Ombudsman. FIDH recalled that the lack of HRIA, and the maladministration that followed, could not be seen as an unfortunate glitch and become a closed case. The Ombudsman stated that the lack of HRIA represented a breach of article 21 of the Lisbon Treaty. In response, the European Commission stated that if the EU policy regarding FTAs was deemed insufficient, and if the European Parliament and the Council adopted clear guidelines to change the policy, the Commission would comply.
The Members of DROI marked their support of FIDH’s complaint against the Commission and expressed their intention to be involved in the follow-up of trade and investment policies. They warned that their consent is needed for the EU-Vietnam FTA to enter into force.