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.

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

UN agencies call for more resettlement and end to detention of asylum seekers in Libya

6th Edition of India m2m + iot Forum to open its door on 14th January, in association with The European Sting

Top UN political official updates Security Council on Iran nuclear deal

Mozambique cyclones a ‘wake-up call’ to boost resistance: UN weather agency

MEPs and European Youth Forum call on EU to Invest in Youth

Ebola Outbreak in Democratic Republic Congo is ‘largely contained’: WHO

Security Council urges countries to factor child protection into conflict prevention efforts

“Asia-Pacific takes stock of ambitious development targets”, written by the Heads of UNFPA and ESCAP

‘We are nowhere closer’ to Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, than a year ago, Security Council hears

How populist and xenophobic movements in the EU tear apart European businesses and startups

Eurozone stuck in a high risk deflation area; Draghi expects further price plunge

A third of world’s out-of-school youth live in conflict, disaster-affected countries: UNICEF report

CHALLENGING THE ZEITGEIST OF DIGITAL – Change making projects innovate mobile support for refugees, inclusive environments, early breast cancer detection and more

From glass ceiling to glass cliff: women are not a leadership quick-fix

Wednesday’s Daily Brief: mental health, conflict prevention, Ebola in Uganda, Sudan protests, child labour

Hundreds of wounded Gaza protesters risk limb amputation without immediate help, warns top UN official

New York high school students are getting free water bottles to cut plastic waste

Gender disparity in salary and promotion in medicine: still a long way to go

New Report Offers Global Outlook on Efforts to Beat Plastic Pollution

Winter 2019 Economic Forecast: growth moderates amid global uncertainties

MEPs urge the EU to lead the way to net-zero emissions by 2050

This new way of understanding disease is changing medicine

JADE Handover Ceremony at the European Parliement

Service Engineer Intern – 1991

Berlin wants to break South’s politico-economic standing

Sudan: UN chief deplores excessive force used against pro-democracy protesters, calls on military and civilian leaders to ‘stay the course’ in negotiations

Press conference by EC Vice-Presidents Valdis Dombrovskis (left) and Jyrki Katainen, on the Commission's proposals in the framework of the financial union (Source: EC Audiovisual Services / Copyright: EU, 2018 / Photo by Georges Boulougouris)

EU Finance ministers agree on new banking capital rules and move closer to Banking Union

‘The clock is ticking’ on meeting the Sustainable Development Goals, says UN deputy chief

UN chief urges Somalis not to be ‘deterred’ by latest deadly terror attack

Better ID card security to curb document fraud

Four lessons from Africa on building effective business ecosystems

The importance of exchanges for the medical students of the world

Q and A on the draft digital copyright directive

The European Parliament wants to stay in one place

The Brussels bureaucracy blocks the Youth Guarantee scheme

An expert in the South China Sea issue on an exclusive interview at the European Sting

How smartphones can close the global skills gap for billions

Here are 4 ways investors can influence more secure and responsible innovation

Our children’s career aspirations have nothing in common with the jobs of the future

Populist Eurosceptics helped by Trumpists seriously threaten the EU edifice

EP President praises Nobel Peace Prize award to Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad

These are the world’s 20 most dynamic cities

Reflections on the the biggest refugee crisis since World War II

Companies have a new skill to master – innovation

Terrorist content online should be removed within one hour, says EP

More needs to be done to bridge the digital gender divide

Trump rejects Europe’s offer for zero car tariffs; he had personally tabled that idea in July

Khashoggi murder trials must public and meet international standards, UN expert urges

Medschool 4.0: how to succeed in the smart revolution of healthcare

EU sets ambitious targets for the Warsaw climate conference

Antibiotics are contaminating the world’s rivers

FROM THE FIELD: Liberia boosts efforts to guard against rising seas

Amsterdam is getting a 3D-printed bridge

EU Parliament: ECB accountable for not supporting real economy

FROM THE FIELD: Stopping aquatic hitchhikers to safeguard environments at sea

A skills gap is jeopardizing efforts to end energy poverty

Migration crisis, a human crisis after all

Parallel downfalls of Merkel and Deutsche Bank threaten Germany and Europe

5G mobile is nearly here – but we should share networks to make it affordable

More Stings?

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