EU trade and foreign ministers are later today expected to reaffirm their commitment to concluding a far-reaching EU-US TTIP agreement, in spite of mounting opposition (1). Ahead of the Council conclusions, Green trade spokesperson Yannick Jadot said:
"Today's Foreign Affairs Council, which will call for a redoubling of efforts to conclude a TTIP agreement, shows EU governments are keeping their heads in the sand. Despite growing expressions of concern with the TTIP negotiations and mounting public opposition, the Italian Presidency is rallying the troops to work for a 'deep' and 'ambitious' agreement.
"That the Council dismisses these concerns as a communications problem shows a failure to grasp the situation and a true disdain for the public: the European Commission has received over 150,000 responses to its public consultation on the controversial investor-state dispute settlement mechanism (ISDS) and the petition to suspend the TTIP negotiations has already exceeded the required one million signatures. This is not to mention the concerns raised by the European Parliament and numerous EU governments and ministers, as well as new EU Commission president Juncker himself on ISDS. The Council's PR drive for TTIP is also based on misleading information. The bandied-about claims about job creation have been discredited, with a recent study suggesting that TTIP may even lead to serious job losses in the EU (2).
"Despite repeated calls for more transparency in the negotiations, Council seems to be kowtowing to the US authorities' insistence on secrecy. Council and Commission need to finally deliver on transparency and this means making all negotiating documents publicly accessible. There is a large and growing sense of unease and concern among the European public and civil society about TTIP. This concern reflects the broad scope of the negotiations and their implications on European standards (food, health, environment, public services etc.), and is reinforced by the opaque negotiation process. The Greens will continue to fight against these negotiations and an agreement which undermines EU standards and democracy."
(1) Today's Council of EU foreign ministers on trade will adopt conclusions on the ongoing EU-US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations, which are expected to call for a "deep" and "ambitious" TTIP agreement.
(2) See the study by Tufts University: http://ase.tufts.edu/gdae/policy_research/TTIP_simulations.html