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.

the sting Milestones

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

Conference on the Future of Europe: launch of the multilingual digital platform

Unemployment and stagnation can tear Eurozone apart if austere policies persist

Far from a healthy Health Workforce: lack of workforce planning leaves our citizens without access to proper care

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

To Fight the Pandemic, Put Trust and Cooperation Before Politics

A Young student assesses the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA)

Estonia is making public transport free

A new kind of company is revolutionising Africa’s gig economy

Key Brazilian border crossing for Venezuela refugees reopens as asylum numbers pass last year’s total

Security: better access to data for border control and migration management

The MH17 tragedy to put a tombstone on Ukrainian civil war

Five years down the drain

One migrant child reported dead or missing every day, UN calls for more protection

MWC 2016 LIVE: Mobile World Congress shows off planes, trams and automobiles

FROM THE FIELD: How the smell of fresh bread transformed one refugee life

How fungi could save the world

This is the critical number that shows when housing breaks down

Macron plans for Europe, Brexit and banks but vague on France

Vaccine against Ebola: Commission grants new market authorisations

Eating less beef and more beans would cut deaths by 5-7%

FROM THE FIELD: Argentina Preserving Pristine Forests

‘Refrain from violence’ UN chief urges, as presidential election result is announced in DR Congo

Thought AIs could never replace human imagination? Think again

ECB will be the catalyst of Eurozone’s reunification

Brazilian health: right or privilege?

FROM THE FIELD: Heeding the call for women’s rights around the planet

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

Could robot leaders do better than our current politicians?

An economist explains the pros and cons of globalization

China is adding a London-sized electric bus fleet every five weeks

Climate change as determinant of health: the 21st Century challenge

The European Youth explains the age gap in European business in the 21st century

Illness in health workers: when the caregiver becomes the patient

The EU approves a new package of budget assistance to the Republic of Moldova to support rule of law and rural development reforms

Clamp down on illegal trade in pets, urge Public Health Committee MEPs

Commission Work Programme 2019: Delivering on promises and preparing for the future

COVID-19 has hit Black Americans hardest. Healing this divide would lift the nation

Restrictions, unmet promises, unbridled violence in Sudan, a ‘recipe for disaster’, says Bachelet

Ocean conservation: EU leads the international effort to establish new Marine Protected Areas in Antarctica

Youth Entrepreneurship Issue of the month: JEN, organisers of JADE October Meeting, on why JEs should come together

3 challenges facing global gig economy growth after COVID-19

Here’s how innovation could help car companies hit by COVID-19

Next time you fly, could you be boarding a train instead of a plane?

Car-free day – and the other 364 days of the year

Forests ‘essential’ for the future, UN agriculture chief spells out in new report

EU and Australia launch talks for a broad trade agreement

The Council of Europe adopts Recommendation on young people’s access to rights

UN launches ‘South-South Galaxy’ knowledge-sharing platform in Buenos Aires

The future of the plastics industry is green

Electronic cigarettes, a better alternative or a well-advertised product

A Sting Exclusive: “Europe needs decisive progress for stronger cybersecurity”, EU Commissioner Gabriel highlights from Brussels

UN should be ‘exemplary’ in defending judicial independence, top Judge tells Security Council

Finland has a new eco-fashion line – clothes made from trees

Further reforms in France can drive growth, improve public finances and boost social cohesion

OECD welcomes French plans to increase and better target foreign aid

We are on the edge of a new ‘cyber’ space age. This is how we make it a success

European Council: Choosing new leaders for the EU betrays efforts for a wider arrangement

If airlines were a country they’d be one of the world’s top 10 greenhouse gas emitters

GSMA Mobile World Congress Americas

This Dutch company has devised an innovative way to deal with food waste

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your 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