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

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Yemen: Tackling the world’s largest humanitarian crisis

4 things to know about the state of conflict today

5 amazing schools that will make you wish you were young again

Yemen: 11 more ‘terrible, senseless’ civilian deaths reported, following attack in Sana’a – top UN official

Hiring more female leaders is good for profits. Here’s the evidence

Upgraded EU visa information database to increase security at external borders

Towards a zero tobacco public space in Cameroon

On International Youth Day the European Youth Forum calls for true youth participation

Theresa May expresses her optimism about Britain’s economic success while UK business outlook seems ominous

EU Leaders’ meeting in Sofia: Completing a trusted Digital Single Market for the benefit of all

We need a new Operating System for the Fourth Industrial Revolution

European Accessibility Act: Parliament and Council negotiators strike a deal

Interview with ourselves: the mental health of health professionals

Could entrepreneurship be the real cure against the side effects of Brexit?

CLIMATE CHANGE FOCUS: Lake Chad trees keep deadly drought at bay

Another doomed EU attempt to interfere in Libya?

It’s time to strengthen global digital cooperation

A Sting Exclusive: China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi on South China Sea issue at the ASEAN Regional Forum

In Rwanda, high-speed drones are delivering blood to remote communities

Parliament sets up plan to fight the 3,600 criminal rings of EU

To all far-right partisans who exploit Charlie Hebdo atrocity: a peaceful reply given by a peaceful student

Preparing the future today: World Health Organisation and young doctors

Ensure that widows are ‘not left out or left behind’, UN chief urges on International Day

Member states jeopardising the rule of law will risk losing EU funds

Artificial intelligence: Commission takes forward its work on ethics guidelines

7 ways to break the fast fashion habit – and save the planet

EU budget: Commission proposes major funding increase for stronger borders and migration

Trump stumbles badly on his Russian openings; Europeans wary of Putin

EU mobilises €21 million to support Palestine refugees via the UN Relief and Works Agency

Your morning cup of coffee contains 140 litres of water

European Semester Autumn Package: Bolstering inclusive and sustainable growth

This surgeon runs a makeshift hospital for over 200,000 people

Marco Polo’s Dream

5 surprising ways to reuse coffee grounds

Youth Entrepreneurship Issue of the month: JEN, organisers of JADE October Meeting, on why JEs should come together

Global Citizen – Volunteer Internships

From Shadows to Sunlight, Paraguay’s Road to Transparency

UN postal agency ‘regrets’ US withdrawal

6 young leaders who are improving the state of the world on International Youth Day

Main results of EU-Japan summit which took place on 25/04/2019 in Brussels

These are the world’s most positive countries

European Business Summit 2014 Launch Event: “Energising Industrial Growth”

“Smoking steam instead of tobacco, are the E-cigarettes a safer alternative?”

Syria: ‘Deplorable’ violence in Idlib against civilians, humanitarian workers must ‘stop immediately’: UN Coordinator

Climate activist Greta Thunberg urges MEPs to put words into action

How music can help children with autism connect

‘Great cause of concern’ UN chief tells Security Council, surveying ‘bleak’ state of civilian protection

EU-UK: A deal synonymous to ‘remain’, England pays the Irish price

More refugees being helped by family, work and study permits, finds OECD and UNHCR study

UN chief welcomes re-opening of key Gaza border crossing

Human health – litmus paper for the climate change?

5 charts that explain big challenges facing Italy’s new government

UN chief welcomes new push by El Salvador’s political parties to begin fresh dialogue

Working Muslim women are a trillion-dollar market

New EU rules ensure better protection for 120 million holidaymakers this summer

US must abide by humanitarian refugee accords: UN refugee agency

Who is responsible for public health? The tendencies and its benefits –or not– on Health Education around the world

Statelessness for terrorists’ families, never an acceptable option, urges UN rights chief

UN police officer recognized for protecting vulnerable Somali women from abuse

European Youth Forum welcomes the European Commission’s proposed revision of the Union Code on Visas, however it does not go far enough

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.

Leave a Reply to Frites Cancel reply

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 )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google 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 )

Connecting to %s