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

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

Why skills are keeping CEOs awake at night

We must help developing countries escape commodity dependence

EU Summit consumed by the banks

WEF Davos 2016 LIVE: Banking moguls continue brandishing financial Armageddon to intimidate us all but in Davos they worry about the very distant future

Water reuse: Commission proposes measures to make it easier and safer for agricultural irrigation

The Middle East needs a technological revolution. Start-ups can lead the way

Impossible Brexit options: WTO or new referendum?

As children in Ebola-affected areas of DR Congo head back to school, UNICEF ramps up support

Climate change recognized as ‘threat multiplier’, UN Security Council debates its impact on peace

This heroic doctor is waging war on rape and the stigma around it

European Union disenchanted with Turkey

Sustainability is now mission critical for businesses. Here’s why

Draghi hands over to banks €77.7 billion more

Our Digital Future

With Caribbean island life under threat, UN chief pushes to face ‘headwinds together’

International community agrees on a road map for resolving the tax challenges arising from digitalisation of the economy

First do no harm. Why healthcare needs to change

Could a Digital Silk Road solve the Belt and Road’s sustainability problem?

Ensure safety of responders UN Security Council urges, amid worsening DR Congo Ebola outbreak

The COP24 Agreement: Yes, it happened at last

UN chief hopeful for Libya, after Quartet meeting in Tunis

How Abu Dhabi found a way to grow vegetables in 40-degree heat

Have we reached peak smartphone?

How to test if Kiev’s ‘Maidan’ was an authentic revolt or a well-planned operation

Why we need a new social contract for data in healthcare

FROM THE FIELD: West Africa’s wishful gold diggers

Family incomes stagnate in the EU; people excluded from ‘moderate recovery’

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

Tartu Call for a Healthy Lifestyle shows concrete results for EU citizens

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

Five avoidable deaths per minute shows urgent need for action on patient safety

These clothes grow with your child

Rule of Law: European Commission takes new step to protect judges in Poland against political control

Not faith, ‘but those who manipulate the faithful’ driving wedge between religions, UN-backed forum in Baku told

5 things you need to know about water

The mental health of health professionals: is it worth it?

Access still an obstacle to reaching stricken communities on Indonesian island: UN agencies

Yemen war: UN chief urges good faith as ‘milestone’ talks get underway in Sweden

Hate speech exacerbating societal, racial tensions with ‘deadly consequences around the world’, say UN experts

BRICS’ New Development Bank turns four: what has it achieved?

EU budget: Reinforcing Europe’s cultural and creative sectors

EU-U.S. Privacy Shield: Second review shows improvements but a permanent Ombudsperson should be nominated by 28 February 2019

Gender equality, justice in law and practice: Essential for sustainable development

What matters most to young Europeans?

How ducks are helping Bangladeshi farmers cope with cyclones

Yemen consultations have started, insists top UN negotiator

A Sting Exclusive: “Junior Enterprises themselves carry out projects focusing on the environment”, JADE President Daniela Runchi highlights from Brussels

Militias force nearly 2,000 to leave Libyan capital’s largest shelter for internally-displaced: UNHCR

One in three fish caught never gets eaten

Portugal: Budget MEPs back €4.66 m in job-search aid for 730 redundant workers

EU Commission accuses Germany of obstructing growth and the banking union

This mobile laundry gives homeless people free showers and washes their clothes

Berlin Calling: DCX Expo on track to grow, in association with The European Sting

Chatterbox Rome Declaration cannot save the EU; Germany has to pay more to do that

Lack of basic water facilities risks millions of lives globally: UN health agency

Not enough resettlement solutions for refugees worldwide, says UN

Here’s how we reboot digital trade for the 21st century

Support for EU remains at historically high level despite sceptics

18th European Forum on Eco-innovation live from Barcelona: What’s next for eco-labelling?

Mergers: Commission opens in-depth investigation into PKN Orlen’s proposed acquisition of Lotos

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