UK’s Cameron takes the field to speed up TTIP talks. Will “rocket boosters” work?

Round table: Mariano Rajoy Brey, Spanish Prime Minister, François Hollande, President of the French Republic, Barack Obama, President of the United States, David Cameron, British Prime Minister, Angela Merkel, German Federal Chancellor, Herman van Rompuy and Jean-Claude Juncker (in a clockwise direction). David Cameron's seat right next to President Obama made it inevitable that he boosts TTIP at Brisbane. (EC Audiovisual Services, 16/11/2014)

Round table: Mariano Rajoy Brey, Spanish Prime Minister, François Hollande, President of the French Republic, Barack Obama, President of the United States, David Cameron, British Prime Minister, Angela Merkel, German Federal Chancellor, Herman van Rompuy and Jean-Claude Juncker (in a clockwise direction). David Cameron’s seat right next to President Obama made it inevitable that he boosts TTIP at Brisbane. (EC Audiovisual Services, 16/11/2014)

In the last few months negotiations over the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) seemed to have slowed down significantly. TTIP talks have never been too lively but it looks like the growing critics and the loud protests of late summer and early autumn made the whole process reach a sort of deadlock.

The huge interests, hopes and promises contained in what could be the largest EU-US trade deal in history, reportedly able to boost EU economy with € 120 billion and the US economy with € 95 billion, are still there though, and politicians know this very well. The Australian G20 was indeed the right field for state leaders to openly gather their efforts in order to launch a new phase, and to try to bring back TTIP under the spotlight.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel was the first one last Sunday to urge European nations to speed up their negotiations with the United States over TTIP agreement between the two economic superpowers. As reported by Reuters, Merkel said at a news conference in Sydney that the EU should negotiate in a “speedy and determined” way with the U.S. to complete the trade deal. The Chancellor was not the only one to try to revive enthusiasm towards the trade agreement.

UK’S Prime Minister David Cameron has focused extensively on TTIP during his final press conference in Australia, which marked the end of the Brisbane G20 conference. Mr. Cameron said the EU and the US president, Barack Obama, had agreed to speed up the negotiations aimed at achieving a transatlantic trade and investment partnership.

He then openly referred to the political hiatus caused by the appointment of a new European Commission and US midterm elections, which has been substantially slowing down negotiations, saying that “rocket boosters” would now be put under the talks. It was “time to take on some of the opponents of this deal and expose the arguments against it”, he said. “This is good for Britain, good for jobs, good for growth and British families”.

UK’s Prime Minister then moved to a much more delicate ground, which has put debate over TTIP literally on fire during the past few months: the National Health System. Last July many British newspapers made the news that UK unions were voicing calls on the government to stop the major trade deal from going ahead. Unions and many British opponents claimed (and still claim) that the agreement could allow US medical giants to demand access to run health services in Europe – so basically to privatise them “irreversibly” – and challenge in the courts if they are denied the right.

Speaking at the G20 summit Mr. Cameron strongly affirmed that arguments that the TTIP would lead to the privatisation of the health service were “weak”, and fears over the NHS falling into the hands of US corporations were “bogus nonsense”. “We have to take on these arguments. I think they’re very weak”, he stated. “There are people who argue in some way this could damage the NHS. I think that is nonsense. It’s our National Health Service, it’s in the public sector, it will stay in the public sector, that’s not going to change”, he firmly added.

Beyond his firm mode and the “enthusiasm” that he “sensed” from EU leaders and US President Barack Obama during a meeting in Brisbane right before his speech, the UK’s Prime Minister is very alive to the risk of opponents presenting his passion for free trade as being a danger to the NHS. The question is extremely delicate in the UK at the moment, and many British journalists and political analysts believe that healthcare is fast becoming one of the main issues in next May’s general election. And Mr Cameron knows he cannot only use clear-cut words and firm manners to reassure British citizens that nothing will change for the NHS.

Len McCluskey, General Secretary of the Unite union, immediately wanted to reply to Mr. Cameron’s words, and the tone was as firm as the PM’s one during the conference in Australia for sure. “David Cameron is riding roughshod over the people of Britain by refusing to listen to their concerns over the threat this trade deal poses to the NHS”, he said, as reported by the main British newspapers. Furthermore, he asked: “If TTIP is not a threat to the NHS then why doesn’t David Cameron just make an explicit commitment to use his veto in Europe to get the NHS out of TTIP?”

The question remains very delicate, as many others are raising concerns throughout the whole European Union. The Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) clause in the agreement, which would allow corporate firms to sue a country where domestic legislation negatively impacts upon their profits, is currently under negotiation, and an outcome on the matter after the Australian weekend is yet to emerge.

Now it’s completely clear that all EU leaders can do is to reaffirm commitment and to stay confident an agreement will be reached “soon”, in order to keep US negotiators, which are reportedly showing signs of impatience, as passionate as they are.

In a joint statement published on the EU website, the main EU leaders claimed that “the Leaders of the United States and the European Union, and the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy and Spain […] remain committed, as we were when we launched these negotiations in June 2013”.

Supposing and – why not – trusting that the above is true, we should now ask whether they believe it is still possible to have an agreement by the end of 2015, as originally foreseen. But this would probably be quite an expansive question.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

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

EU to finance new investment projects with extra borrowing; French and Italian deficits to be tolerated

‘Stealing’ food from hungry Yemenis ‘must stop immediately’, says UN agency

Germany may have a stable and more cooperative government

‘Green economy’ pioneer Pavan Sukhdev wins 2020 Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement

European Commission: the LED lights of your Audi A6 shall save our planet

Africa will develop with oil and gas – whether the West likes it or not

Madagascar villagers learn dangers of outdoor defecation

Nagorno Karabakh: EU allocates additional €3 million in emergency aid for civilians affected by the hostilities

Does upgrading our minds mean losing the spark of genius?

This is how much the US-China trade war could cost the world, according to new research

“Beating pollution for our planet”, a Sting Exclusive by Mr Erik Solheim, the Executive Director of the United Nations Environment

FROM THE FIELD: South Sudan’s green shoots, highlight environmental recovery from war

OECD economic scenarios to 2060 illustrate the long-run benefits of structural reforms

3 hard-won lessons from a decade of negative cleantech returns

JADE visits Lithuanian Junior Initiatives

Online platforms: improving transparency and fairness for EU businesses

Young people demand a transparent job market: new campaign launches on international interns day

What cybersecurity professionals can learn from triathletes

European Youth Forum welcomes strong stance on human rights in State of the Union

Soil pollution ‘jeopardizing’ life on Earth, UN agency warns on World Day

Statement by the European Commission following the extraordinary meeting of the EU-UK Joint Committee

At UN, Yemen Foreign Minister demands end to ‘Iranian-Houthi coup d’etat’

Most ‘precious’ and ‘scarce’ resource of our time is dialogue, UN chief tells Doha policy forum

3 reasons why AI won’t replace human translators… yet

The British “nonsense”, the relaxed Commissioner and the TTIP “chiaroscuro” at this week’s Council

Mental Health in times of a pandemic: what can each individual do to lessen the burden?

UN forum spotlights cities, where struggle for sustainability ‘will be won or lost’

Malaria could be gone by the middle of the century. Here’s how

As inequality grows, the UN fights for a fairer world

ECB’s trillion has to be printed and distributed fast before Armageddon comes

EU-China: Commission and China hold first High-level Digital Dialogue

Youth policy in Europe not delivering for young people

No great discovery was made without a bold guess – Isaac Newton

What my transgender child can teach us about the workforce of the future

EU to spend €6 billion on youth employment and training futile schemes

EU reconfirms support for Afghanistan at 2020 Geneva Conference

European Banking Union: Like the issue of a Eurobond?

Eurozone dignitaries play with people’s life savings

Why cybersecurity should be standard due diligence for investors

What we need is more (and better) multilateralism, not less

‘Be the change’ we desperately need, UN deputy chief urges global youth

The EU pretends not knowing what happens in the Western Balkans

COVID-19 underlines the importance of fintech in emerging markets

Deep chasm still divides Athens and Brussels; can Eurozone use the nuclear arm of liquidity against Greece?

Mental health and suicide prevention – what can be done to increase access to mental health services in my local area?

Pandemic and mental health: what to do in this context?

Renovation Wave: doubling the renovation rate to cut emissions, boost recovery and reduce energy poverty

TTIP update: postponed vote and INTA meeting shuffle cards again

Economic uncertainty, geopolitical tensions stall growth in Latin America and Caribbean region, UN says

More progress needed on reducing and redesigning agricultural support policies

The road ahead to building a more sustainable world

After the Italian ‘no’ and the Brexit, Germans must decide which Europe they want

Northern Ireland: Parliament wants to secure post-Brexit regional funding

Commission welcomes agreement on the modernisation of EU export controls

Celebrating Gaston Ramon – the vet who discovered vaccinology’s secret weapon

Security Council should ‘nurture’ Colombian consensus against return to violence, top UN official urges

How to make primary healthcare a favourable career choice for medical students: strategies and reflections

Media and entertainment in flux: it’s time for the close-up

Is 2019 the beginning of the end for coal in Europe?

Greferendum: the biggest political gaffe in western modern history to tear Europe apart? #Grexit #Graccident

More Stings?

Advertising

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 )

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