EU makes key TTIP document public as protests get louder

Karel De Gucht, Member of the EC in charge of Trade, participated in the debate entitled "Stepping up a gear" organised as part of the Summit "European Movement International - Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership". Can events like that in Brussels educate European voters about TTIP? (EC Audiovisual Services, 02/10/2014)

Karel De Gucht, Member of the EC in charge of Trade, participated in the debate entitled “Stepping up a gear” organised as part of the Summit “European Movement International – Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership”. Can events like that in Brussels educate European voters about TTIP? (EC Audiovisual Services, 02/10/2014)

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, known as TTIP, has always been largely criticized, and this is not news. However, the demonstrations that took place across Europe on Saturday, with large numbers of events in 22 countries across Europe, might tell that the time of huge protests against the agreement is here.

Tens of thousands people flooded the streets of cities all over Europe in over 1,000 locations in the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Greece, Netherlands, Poland, the Czech Republic and Scandinavian countries. And this could be just the beginning of a very hot winter season.

The demonstrations were big and they have been organised by many social movements, which gathered a high number of individuals through the social networks. The main aim of the wave of protests was “to reclaim democracy”, as stated by some of the organizers to the media.

Campaigners have harshly criticised the conduct of the talks itself as contentious, having secretive negotiations secretive and being held in an undemocratic way, they argue. This has been a very hot point since the beginning, but it seems that now the matter has reached a critical point.

The European Commission, which strongly rejects those criticisms, made the right move: last week the negotiating directive for EU-US talks was published, after a formal declassification of the TTIP agenda itself. It’s important to know that until last Thursday basically the TTIP negotiation document was classified as “EU Restricted”, meaning that it contained “information whose unauthorised disclosure could be disadvantageous to the interest of the EU or of one or more of its Member States”.

The first comment after this important move came from the European Commission, with EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht saying he is “delighted” by the choice of the EU governments to make TTIP negotiating mandate public; also because he has been “encouraging them to do for a long time”. “[This choice] further underlines our commitment to transparency as we pursue the negotiations”, he said. “It allows everyone to see precisely how the EU wants this deal to work, so it contributes to economic growth and jobs’ creation across Europe while keeping our commitment to maintain high level of protection for the environment, health, safety, consumers, data privacy, or any other public policy goal”.

The EU is clearly trying to prove it has nothing to hide, but this might not be enough. Given the nature of last weekend rallies and the deep worries the TTIP is generating in the environmentalists and consumer groups areas, it’s also clear that protests won’t cease after the latest move by the EU.

Protesters are convinced that the huge promises* contained in this agreement are too precious for the EU and the US, and that it will see the light anyway, carrying many “dangerous” clauses. Critics argue that the completion of the TTIP agreement and also of the EU-Canada deal, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), would give more power to multi-national corporations, taking it away from the citizens.

The protesters argue that both TTIP and CETA will bring the same threat to the EU’s current policy, with the disputed “ISDS clause”. The provision would allow multinationals and private investors to sue governments if they feel their investments are weakened by local laws, on food safety and environment, for example. The Commission in turn underlines that these concerns are misplaced.

However, it is undeniable that the mandate made public last Thursday sets out de-facto a plan to include Investor-State Dispute Settlement provisions. For sure the document clearly says that the inclusion of an ISDS clause will depend on “whether a satisfactory solution, meeting the EU interests” concerning the issues covered by the following paragraph, but the road map is there, found in pages 9, 10 and 11.

The TTIP talks started in July 2013 and seven rounds of negotiations have been completed so far. Dozens of hours of negotiations, hundreds of pages written about the meetings in Brussels and Washington, and still an agreement seems not very close. Also, as clear as it appears after last weekend, the “welcome committee” in the streets of the European cities, from Manchester to Berlin, is not so warm.

It is true that not many people are well informed about the agreement – especially in the US, where politicians, traders and consultants are the first to say that American citizens don’t really care about it. It is also true though that many of those who are up-to-date are basically adverse to it.

And this, whatever the approach is, pro or contra major trade agreements, should not be ignored.

*According to a European Commission estimate, TTIP could boost the EU economy by € 120 billion and the US economy by € 95 billion (respectively equal to 0.5% and 0.4% of GDP)

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Featured Stings

Only the Americans are unhappy with the ceasefire agreement in eastern Ukraine

Theresa May’s global Britain against Philip Hammond’s Brexit fog

Why is Merkel’s Germany so liberal with the refugees? Did the last elections change that?

Tourism offers much to the EU gets a little

Junior Enterprises as a solution for Youth Entrepreneurship

EU Commission: a rise in wages and salaries may help create more jobs

Why Renewable Energy is an attractive investment

EU Council: The US airlines may freely pollute the European air

When is Berlin telling the truth about the EU banking union?

EU to present a “hefty” exit bill to the UK moments before Brexit negotiations

Italy’s Letta: A European Banking Union soon or Eurozone collapses

Let’s Learn

Brexit update: Tusk’s proposal is out and Cameron takes it all

Arlington, USA: kick-off of the fifth round of the EU-US boxing match

MWC 2016 LIVE: Intel focuses on 5G “beyond the Powerpoint”

European Union: More taxes out of less income

Solitary Britain sides with US aggressing Russia and chooses hard Brexit

War of words in Davos over Eurozone’s inflation/deflation

A new global financial crisis develops fast; who denies it?

SPB TV @ MWC14: The TV of the Future

CHINA UNLIMITED. PEOPLE UNLIMITED. RESTRICTIONS LIMITED

Snowden is the “EU nomination” for this year’s Oscars

The EU responds to US challenges by fining Apple with €13 billion

‘Internal security’ or how to compromise citizens’ rights and also make huge profits

Bundestag kick starts the next episode of the Greek tragedy

Who may profit from the rise of the extreme right in the West?

How will EU look after French, Dutch and German Elections and what will be the implications for Youth Entrepreneurship?

Brexit: when the hubris of one man can set the UK, the EU and the entire world on fire

The EU seals CETA but plans to re-baptise TTIP after missing the 2016 deadline

Merry Christmas from Erdogan, Putin, Mogherini and the Polish firefighter

Spanish and Polish voters are crying out for an imminent European change while US urge now Germany to change route

ECB’s billions fortify south Eurozone except Greece; everybody rushes to invest in euro area bonds zeroing their yields

A Sting Exclusive: “Paris and beyond: EU action and what COP21 should deliver”, Green MEP Keith Taylor discusses from Brussels 

The G7 fails to agree on growth but protects the big banks

The ECB tells Berlin that a Germanic Eurozone is unacceptable and doesn’t work

G20 LIVE: G20 Leaders’ Communiqué Antalya Summit, 15-16 November 2015

Europe turns out more jobs this summer

To Bing or Not to Bing? That is the question

Impacting society with digital ingenuity – World Summit Award proclaiming the top 8 worldwide

What the world will look like after the Iran and 5+1 deal; the US emerges as major power broker in Middle East

The financial sector cripples Eurozone growth prospects

Financial transactions tax gets go ahead

EU’s tougher privacy rules: WhatsApp and Facebook set to be soon aligned with telcos

Ukraine’s new political order not accepted in Crimea

EUREKA @ European Business Summit 2014: Innovation across borders – mobilising national R&D funds for transnational innovation in Europe

ECB to buy corporate bonds: Will government financing be the next step?

Will Brexit shatter the EU or is it still too early to predict?

Preparing the future today: World Health Organisation and young doctors

Gloomy new statistics signify no end to Eurozone’s economic misery

European Energy Union: Integration of markets and need for in-house energy production

More Stings?

Comments

  1. What I’d personally like is for the responses from public criticism to be laid out in full to the public. A response that says “your worry is misplaced” doesn’t exactly give you a feeling of “Well okay then, i’m glad that’s cleared up…”. You wouldn’t be surprised if they cracked out a white dressing robe and a lightsaber.

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s