On 13 September 2017, the European Commission formally proposed negotiating mandates for trade negotiations with Australia and New Zealand to the Council, but contrary to the Commission's hopes, the mandates were not approved by the Council in November 2017.
On 26 October 2017, the EP adopted recommendations on these proposals. While these EP recommendations are not binding, they do give a good indication of the elements that the EP (which has to give final consent for these agreements in due course) wants to see reflected in these FTAs. The EP insists, inter alia, that the FTAs should offer new opportunities for EU business in the public procurement market of the two countries, and that certain agricultural products need special attention (with limited tariff concessions or none at all). Unsurprisingly, the EP further states that nothing in the future FTAs should prevent the EU or Member States from adopting and maintaining legislation to protect health, consumers and the environment. The Recommendation further calls for investment protection to be covered in separate agreements.