Latest leaked TTIP document confirms EU sovereignty may be under threat

Cecilia Malmstrom Commissioner Trade

Press conference by Cecilia Malmström, Member of the EC in charge of Trade, on Canada-EU CETA. © European Union , 2016 / Source: EC – Audiovisual Service / Photo: Eric Vidal.

Days have passed since the Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström gave an ambitious push to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), and the supporters of the EU-US trade pact are now bound to see another possible sharp slowdown in the big ongoing negotiation match.

A leaked document obtained by campaign group Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) reportedly revealed that the European Commission will be obliged to consult with US authorities before making and adopting any new legislative proposal. As reported by The Independent last week, the secret document allegedly shows that the Commission will have enough power to decide in which areas there should be cooperation between Brussels and the States, pushing the EU member states and the European Parliament aside.

US influence

“The leak absolutely confirms our fears about TTIP. It’s all about giving big business more power over a very wide range of laws and regulations”, said Nick Dearden, director of the Global Justice Now campaign group, told The Independent last week. “In fact, business lobbies are on record as saying they want to co-write laws with governments, and this gets them a step closer”, he declared.

His clear-cut words were echoed by Kenneth Haar, researcher at CEO, who underlined that the leaked document would shows how TTIP’s regulatory cooperation “will facilitate big business influence and US influence on lawmaking” before any proposal is even presented to local parliaments. “EU and US determination to put big business at the heart of decision-making is a direct threat to democratic principles”, he argued.

Commission’s reply

The European Commission strongly denied any accusation. A spokesman for the European Commission said: “These accusations are unfounded and are not reflected in the EU proposal for simplifying rules for EU exporters”. “Regulators – not trade negotiators – will continue to lead regulatory cooperation initiatives – both in the EU and the US”, the EU spokesperson declared.

A long “TTIP-leak” history

The leaked document represents only the last case of a quite controversial “TTIP-leak” story. One year ago, during the 9th round of negotiations, the BBC reported the news of a leaked draft of a sort of “exclusion list” by the EU, which was described as “the initial offer of the European Union in the context of TTIP negotiations”. The 103-page long document, which was put forward by EU negotiators before the upcoming round of talks with the US, generated a huge debate, as it mainly concerned some of the hottest topics of the whole deal, such as health and privatisation risks.

Last October, the Guardian published another leaked draft text submitted by the EU during the Miami negotiation round, which was allegedly showing how the EU was promising only with “vaguely phrased and non-binding commitments” to safeguard the environment during the negotiation process. The Guardian reported that ways of enforcing goals on biodiversity, chemicals and illegal wildlife trade were totally absent from the document.

Big concerns

The leaked document came at a very delicate moment for TTIP, especially since it concerns one of the most delicate and debated areas, the “regulatory cooperation”. The biggest concern by European TTIP opponents is indeed that the mammoth EU-US trade deal, while harmonising trans-Atlantic rules in a wide range of areas – from food and chemicals safety, to environmental protection – will ultimately lower European standards. Useless to say how this latest TTIP-leaked document will raise the bar of fear.

Too secretive process

Moreover, this umpteenth TTIP “scandal”, would somehow represent an evidence that the sort of secrecy around the talks that No-TTIP campaigners have very often claimed, could indeed be a current risk. It was only in December 2015 when, after months of campaigning, European lawmakers won a battle to get access to previously restricted documents containing the draft compromises between the EU and the US, the so called “consolidated texts”. Until then, indeed only a very limited number of Members of the European Parliament had been able to access those documents, and that was one of the main reasons why a broad coalition of labour unions, NGOs and environmental groups had slammed the deal over a too secretive negotiation process.

The European Commission have always defended the transparency of the works, and the EC’s spokesperson have mentioned that the EU is determined to apply the good conduct this time too. “The text on regulatory cooperation will be published soon for everyone to see that this so-called analysis is completely false, presents a biased view of the European Commission’s work and ignores the reality of EU texts”, the spokesperson told the press.

Trade Chief’s words before the case

Last week, while on a visit to her home town of Gothenburg, just a couple of days before the latest leaked TTIP document came out, Commissioner Malmström said that the EU is determined to use trade using trade as “a lever to increase respect for human rights, labour law and environmental protection worldwide”. During her speech at Gothenburg University, she mentioned the recent deals with Canada and Vietnam as quality agreements that can work as an example for the upcoming TTIP. “But these agreements can and will only take effect if they have the support of the people”, she said.

The document mentioned by CEO was still to come, but surely Commissioner Malmström’s words were already giving pause for thoughts. “That’s why the Commission is engaging so closely with the public debate – to ensure that genuine concerns can be addressed […] and to build the coalitions we need to deliver results”, she added.

“But we can’t do that alone: other actors, national governments, civil society organisations and business all have vital roles to play too”, Commissioner Malmström concluded.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Featured Stings

The 28 EU leaders care more about fiscal orthodoxy than effectively fighting youth unemployment

Greece @ MWC14: Greek-born mobile champions at MWC 2014

Scotland in United Kingdom: It’s either the end or the beginning of the end

G20 LIVE: G20 Statement on the fight against terrorism

Joris in Indonesia

Google strongly rejects EU antitrust charges and now gets ready for the worst to come

The US repelled EU proposals on common rules for banks

Eurozone 2013: Where to?

How much more social deterioration can the EU people endure?

Intel, Almunia and 1 billion euros for unfair potatoes

The succesful cooperation

Italy’s rescue operation Mare Nostrum shuts down with no real replacement. EU’s Triton instead might put lives at risk

Unanswered questions for Europe’s youth in President Juncker’s State of Union

It ain’t over until Google says it’s over

Migration crisis: how big a security threat it is?

Greece returns to markets at a high cost to taxpayers, after four years out in the cold

Why Commissioner Rehn wants us all to work more for less

TTIP: why it is worth not to pull the covers over your head?

EU Commission: a rise in wages and salaries may help create more jobs

Tax evasion and fraud threaten the European project

Fostering global citizenship in medicine

No way out for Eurozone’s stagnating economy

Britain heading to national schism on exit from EU

Cross-roads

The IMF sees Brexit’s ‘substantial impact’ while the world’s economy holds its breath

Is the EU competent enough to fight human smuggling in 2015?

OECD tells Eurozone to prepare its banks for a tsunami coming from developing countries

How Germany strives to mold ECB’s monetary policy to her interests

Banks suffocate the real economy by denying loans

Will Brexit shatter the EU or is it still too early to predict?

Assembly of European Regions @ European Business Summit 2014: The European regions on the path to recovery

Breaking barriers between youth in the new tech era: is there an easy way through?

IMF’s Lagarde indirectly cautioned Eurozone on deflation

Population in crisis hit EU countries will suffer for decades

Any doubt?

EU threatens Japan to suspend FTA negotiations if…

Migration crisis, a human crisis after all

The Banking Union divides deeply the European Union

A new crop of EU ‘Boards’ override the democratic accountability and undermine the EU project

Germany tries to save Europe from war between Ukraine and Russia

EU to gain the most from the agreement with Iran

EU countries invested €5 trillion abroad

What we need for a better European Solidarity Corps

Azerbaijan chooses Greek corridor for its natural gas flow to EU

ECOFIN: Protecting bankers and tax-evaders

French Prime Minister passes Stability Program and takes his ‘café’ in Brussels this June

Migration Crisis: how to open the borders and make way for the uprooted

EU Parliament raises burning issues over the FTA with the US

Why growth is now a one way road for Eurozone

The impossible end of the war in Syria

Access to healthcare: what do we lack?

Does EURES really exist?

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

New VAT rules in the EU: how a digital sea could have become an ocean

Yes, together we can make a change! YO!Fest and EYE 2016

ECB should offer more and cheaper liquidity if Eurozone is to avoid recession

Commission goes less than mid-way on expensive euro

Except Poland, can climate change also wait until 2021 for the EU Market Stability Reserve to be launched?

Why banks escape from competition rules but not pharmaceutical firms

What the US and the world can expect from the 8 November election?

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 )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s