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.

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

Qualcomm to be the next target of EU antitrust regulators? China might be the answer

France breaks budget promises once again and the EU’s finance offices are shaking

COVID-19 shows why we must build trust in digital financial services

Amazon: our green is turning to ashes

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

Suriname’s climate promise, for a sustainable future

Medical students: catalysts to close the gender gap

As people return to work, here’s how we can make commuting more inclusive and sustainable

Safety fits into our palms: The role of mobile technology in healthcare systems and life saving

Keep Africa’s guns ‘from firing in the first place’, UN political chief urges

Algorithmic warfare is coming. Humans must retain control

Paris, Rome, Brussels and Frankfurt to confront Berlin over growth and the Athens enigma

How the institutional response to COVID-19 can prepare us for climate change

Germany is turning its old mines into tourist hotspots

Turkey’s Erdogan provokes the US and the EU by serving jihadists and trading on refugees

Yemen bus attack just the latest outrage against civilians: UN agencies

We need to protect 30% of the planet by 2030. This is how we can do it

Friday’s Daily Brief: UN chief in China, counter-terrorism, updates from Bangladesh, Mali and Mozambique

7 steps to becoming a ‘CEO Academy’

Merkel refuses to consider the North-South schism of Eurozone

Coronavirus: Commission adopts new exceptional support measures for the wine sector

MEPs vote for upgrade to rail passenger rights

Juncker and Tusk killed Greece on 07 July 2015 to meet the Commission’s summer vacation plan? #Grexit #Greferendum #Graccident

‘Protracted crisis’ in Venezuela leads to ‘alarming escalation of tensions’: UN political chief

Afghanistan: Civilian casualties exceed 10,000 for sixth straight year

A letter from Italy: Our insecurity in COVID-19 times

These coastal countries are sinking the fastest

Women still struggle to find a job, let alone reach the top: new UN report calls for ‘quantum leap’

‘Act now with ambition and urgency’ to tackle the world’s ‘grave climate emergency’, UN chief urges UAE meeting

European Commission statement on the adoption of the new energy lending policy of the European Investment Bank Group

A challenge for inclusion in the Dominican Republic’s health care services

There is no recipe for a healthy mental state

Outbreaks and pandemics periods can be stressful, but how can we turn it to a positive life-changing experience?

International World Summit Award calls for outstanding digital applications with impact on society from 178 UN member states

China greenlights first underwater high-speed railway

Three out of the past five Julys were the hottest on record

COP21 Breaking News_04 December: Commitments Made to Reduce Black Carbon, Methane and HFCs

Medical workforce migration in Europe – Is it really a problem?

Investing in rural women and girls, ‘essential’ for everyone’s future: UN chief

European Parliament speaks out against “killer robots”

10 million Yemenis ‘one step away from famine’, UN food relief agency calls for ‘unhindered access’ to frontline regions

These are India’s cleanest cities

EU Border and Coast Guard: new corps of 10 000 border and coast guards by 2027

7 lessons leaders should take from the COVID-19 crisis

We won’t win the online security war without people power

The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page

Q&A on extraordinary remote participation procedure

EU Elections: new rules to prevent breaches of data used to influence elections

Mining the deep seabed will harm biodiversity. We need to talk about it

Congolese expelled from Angola returning to ‘desperate situation’: UN refugee agency

In West Africa, UN Security Council visits Côte d’Ivoire and Guinea-Bissau

JADE President opens JADE Spring Meeting 2014

Commission welcomes the political agreement on the transitional rules for the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP)

Cameroon: Clear ‘window of opportunity’ to solve crises rooted in violence – Bachelet

The EU Commission fails to draw the right conclusions about corruption

How youth and technology can drive Africa’s COVID-19 response

We are ‘burning up our future’, UN’s Bachelet tells Human Rights Council

How to change the world at Davos

5 ways to get your business ready for AI in 2020

UN, global health agencies sound alarm on drug-resistant infections; new recommendations to reduce ‘staggering number’ of future deaths

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