Is a full course lunch, a new Commissioner and 2 million anti-TTIP citizens what you would call a “Fresh Start”?

It seems that not even Dan Mullaney, Chief US Negotiator for TTIP, can believe that Cecilia sees a "fresh start" in the negotiations! From right to left, Cecilia Malmström, Member of the EC in charge of Trade and Dan Mullaney, Chief US Negotiator for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). (EC Audiovisual Services, 08/12/2014)

It seems that not even Mr Dan Mullaney, Chief US Negotiator for TTIP, can believe that Cecilia sees a “fresh start” in the negotiations! From right to left, Cecilia Malmström, Member of the EC in charge of Trade and Dan Mullaney, Chief US Negotiator for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). (EC Audiovisual Services, 08/12/2014)

It was last Monday that Mrs Cecilia Malmstrom, the newly appointed EU Commissioner for Trade, paid a visit to Washington to meet “our American friends”, as she calls them. That is to say, “Mike“, Mr Michael Froman, US Trade Commissioner and his team. To her surprise “our American friends” provided her with a full course lunch rather than just a couple of sandwiches, like she was used to. Moreover, she described this as a “fresh start” in the TTIP negotiations. The reporters on site though questioned the “freshness” and so do we.

The Sting has been following very closely the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), the trade pact between the US and the EU. After seven long rounds of negotiations in both sides of the Atlantic the top EU and US trade representatives have well tabled the major points of what is believed to become to biggest trade pact in the world. The crucial mistake though made in these 7 rounds is that the two parts were negotiating like business men and not politicians.

TTIP Vs. Cue Tip

Surprisingly enough for the other side of the Atlantic TTIP as a term means no more than a “cue tip”, as Mr Tim Bennett, CEO of the Transatlantic Business Council interestingly revealed to us in an exclusive interview he gave to Carlo Motta from the European Sting during European Business Summit 2014. Apparently the American citizen is not aware or engaged enough in this trade partnership with the Old Continent. On the other hand, other trade pacts like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) seem more interesting for them to follow.

The major issue or political mistake made in these 7 negotiation rounds is to ignore the fact that the EU citizen is by far more engaged in the topic and as a matter of fact a huge part of the public opinion is against this trade agreement with the US. During this year, which comes soon to an end, we noticed various organised riots against TTIP in Brussels and beyond, pointing out some major hot points of the TTIP debate, like GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms). Hence, going to negotiations without a sound understanding and plan about how to tackle this public resentment is like going to start the car without the key. It won’t work!

A not so “Fresh Start”

On Tuesday, right one day after this “fresh start”, accompanied by a full course lunch, that Mrs Malstrom made in Washington, Stop TTIP, a “self-organised European citizens initiative against TTIP and CETA”-CETA is the trade pact with Canada- , whose aim is to do what the name stands for, handed over at the European Commission a special birthday present for President Juncker. It was a powerful petition that has been signed by more than 1 million Europeans who want TTIP negotiations to be halted immediately.

In fact this is the second million ‘worthy’ petition to be sent to the Commission in 5 months time! On 15 July another petition by the same organisation and signed by another million Europeans was also sent to the Commission. Stop TTIP petitions allegedly apply to be a “European Citizens Initiative“. According to the European Commission “the European citizens’ initiative allows one million EU citizens to participate directly in the development of EU policies, by calling on the European Commission to make a legislative proposal”.

Let’s go back now to the last hot summer, when the Commission rejected the powerful 1 million petition by Stop TTIP, claiming that a European Citizens Initiative (ECI) may be formulated only positively, working towards the enactment of a legal act, not towards preventing an enactment. Indeed it is understood that is a big majority in Berlaymont is comprised of well skilled lawyers that can find many reasons not to make an ECI valid. Furthermore, Stop TTIP, has launched a formal complaint to the European Court of Justice (ECJ), stressing that the European Citizens’ Initiative (regulation 211/2011) provides citizens with the right “to participate by means of a European Citizens’ Initiative in the democratic life of the Union”. In addition, Stop TTIP says that “there is not a syllable which indicates that only constructive, i.e. positively formulated, ECIs are to be possible”… “The instrument of an ECI is intended to enable lively participation at EU level by citizens – it is available to the citizens as a motive force or as a brake.”

The huge political mistake

Whether Stop TTIP can be granted the official ‘stamp’ “European Citizens Initiative” (ECI) or not, this is neither for this article nor for the Sting to judge. The European Court of Justice now will decide on the matter. No matter what the court’s decision will be, however, neglecting these more than 2 million ‘worthy’ European citizen petitions or acting like they never happened is a terrible and unseen political mistake.

The EU needs to listen to these original outcries from its people and deal with them in a democratic way. No bureaucrat receiving fat, tax free salaries, and enjoying an upper estimate of some 50 working days annual leave, should be able to turn a blind eye to petitions of this size and importance. What is more, it is not relevant that a top EU trade negotiator states: “I need to try to understand the scepticism, the fears,” (Monday press conference on TTIP). As a Trade Commisisoner you don’t try to understand but you understand!

There’s no other way

All in all, given the general resentment of the pubic opinion, there is no sense any more in covering the negotiation terms. People are against it a priori. If this trade partnership is about to help boost our economies in Europe greatly and create many more jobs for Europeans, then the EU needs to convince its citizens and earn their trust. Let’s start with opening the complete negotiation file at the European Parliament. If indeed it is in our best interest to proceed, then our representatives in the EP will see it and approve it.

On TTIP there is no other way to proceed, at least at this side of the Atlantic, but with an open democratic dialogue.

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

Italian banks: It’s Rome’s turn to confront Berlin’s aggressiveness

We generate 125,000 jumbo jets worth of e-waste every year. Here’s how we can tackle the problem

Deal agreed to protect consumers against misleading and unfair practices

Jellyfish are taking over the world – and climate change could be to blame

EU Commission: Germany can make Eurozone grow again just by helping itself

Ocean life faces ‘onslaught of threats’ from human activity, but tools exist to save it

Brussels wins game and match in Ukraine no matter the electoral results

Is Data Privacy really safe seen through Commissioner’s PRISM?

Taking fast road to ‘e-mobility’ central to a sustainable future: COP24

ISIS fighters fleeing Mosul for Syria can topple Assad. Why did the US now decide to uproot them from Iraq?

More than four in 10 women, live in fear of refusing partner’s sexual demands, new UN global study finds

Vĕra Jourová, European Commissioner in charge of Justice

The New EU-US “Shield” for data privacy is full of holes

The International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations (IFMSA) on the arrest of Turkish Medical Association leaders

Crackdown on Christians in Eritrea spurs UN expert to press Government ‘to live up to its international commitments’

It’s not just the protests. Here’s how young people are helping the planet

UN experts report: Business ‘dragging its feet’ on human rights worldwide

EU budget: Commission proposes €1.26 billion to reinforce the European Solidarity Corps

European creativity and digital economy are drowning in a copyright swamp

A Sting Exclusive: “The EU Cybersecurity Act for a more secure and cyber-resilient European Digital Single Market”, by EU Commissioner Gabriel

2013, a Political Odyssey: What future for Italy?

MEPs react to breaches of human rights in Moldova, Burundi and Somalia

Innovation and Entrepreneurship Changing the Face of Europe

Norway’s electric car market has overtaken traditional vehicle sales

Families deserve answers when loved ones go missing in conflict: Security Council adopts historic resolution

Modern farming is harming the planet. Tech-driven permaculture could heal it

If you live in a big city you already smoke every day

Eurobarometer: Not a single answer about what the Banking Union will cost to citizens

Sweden’s forests have doubled in size over the last 100 years

We can save the Earth. Here’s how

Afghanistan: top UN official denounces ‘extreme’ suffering of civilians in Ghazni

Righting a wrong: UN Fund helps thousands of sex abuse survivors rebuild their lives

The West castigates Turkey’s Erdogan for the ruthless political cleansing

How leaders can use ‘agile governance’ to drive tech and win trust

A European young student shares his thoughts on Quality Education

Tuesday’s Daily Brief: UNESCO ready to help after Notre Dame fire, and updates on Libya, Nicaragua, and the Cyclone Idai response

ECB describes in detail how it exploits the poor

The US calls off globalization, targets Germany. Paris offer to Berlin comes at a cost

Better training ‘a necessary and strategic investment’ in peacekeeping that saves lives: Guterres

Trade negotiations with US can start under certain conditions

What makes America the world’s most competitive economy?

More than one billion people do not have access to electricity. What will it take to get them connected?

The Shifting Rhythms of Harmonious China: Ancient, Modern & Eternal

This Chinese megacity is building a giant waste-to-energy plant

European Youth Forum @ European Business Summit 2014: European Youth Unemployment

“Decisions taken in the coming weeks will shape Europe’s experience of the internet”, Joe Mcnamee from EDRi says live from European Business Summit 2015

WEF Davos 2016 LIVE: “If we do not do properly the Paris agreement, then all 16 remaining goals will be undermined”, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon cautions from Davos

EU’s new environmental policy on biofuels impacts both the environment and the European citizen

Two-thirds of global drug deaths now from opioids: UN drugs report

China invites the EU to a joint endeavor for free trade and order in the world

The US repelled EU proposals on common rules for banks

Eurozone hasn’t escaped the deflation danger

Despite violence, ‘tremendous hunger’ for peace in Afghanistan: top UN official

Does the West play the Syrian game in Egypt?

Mali: Presidential elections critical to consolidate democracy, says UN peacekeeping chief

Take-home pay growing at lowest level since 2008, as gender-gap persists: UN labour agency

Guterres underlines climate action urgency, as UN weather agency confirms record global warming

G20 starts to tackle inequality

UN chief hails victory of ‘political will’ in historic Republic of North Macedonia accord

Obama, Crimea and the TTIP pill

GSMA Mobile 360 Series –Digital Societies, in association with The European Sting

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