World Economy

EP: TTIP Undemocratic

EP: TTIP UndemocraticEP: TTIP Undemocratic

Members of the European Parliament are finally realizing the full extent of the undemocratic effects of the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, according to a prominent critic of the deal, speaking exclusively to Sputnik.

The controversial TTIP agreement has been heavily pushed by the US, with President Barack Obama calling for the deal to be signed by the end of 2015. However, critics say that the negotiations have been dominated by industry lobby groups keen to break down tight EU regulations over food safety, medicines and other major areas of trade, where the EU has tougher regulations—imposed by the European or member state parliaments.

In a draft report to the European Parliament, the Trade Committee MEPs warned that the huge EU-US trade deal should deepen EU access to the US market, but must not undermine EU standards or the right to regulate in the public interest.

MEPs were divided two weeks ago when they were due to vote on a motion on the TTIP but deferred it twice as MEPs tables over 100 amendments, following fierce criticism in their constituencies.

MEPs became aware of the massive public backlash they could get if the deal led to a harmonization of regulatory systems.

Tess Finch-Lees, a prominent journalist and campaigner told Sputnik: “TTIP is a corporate heist of democracy, the scale and audacity of which we’ve never seen before.”

“The investment protector clause, known as ISDS, allows corporations to potentially sue governments for terminating contracts and, despite reassurances to the contrary, there is absolutely no evidence to claim that public services have or could be fully protected now or in the future.

“You need to look no further than the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland who signed investor-state trade agreements to see that the worst can happen. They’ve been sued 127 times and lost the equivalent funds that could have employed 300,000 nurses for a year in the UK.

  Misleading People

The Dutch government and foreign trade minister Lilianne Ploumen are systematically misleading the Dutch people about the consequences of the controversial TTIP, according to lobby group Foodwatch. It says figures from reports are systematically selected to give a positive image of the trade agreement and adverse effects are ignored.

It is a scandal that the government is giving the Dutch people a one-sided picture of a subject about which ‘a great many people are worried’, Foodwatch said.

 TTIP is aimed at freeing up trade between Europe and the US by making it cheaper and easier, it reports. The main criticism against it is that the democracy and autonomy of European countries will be undermined.

Foodwatch has sent an open letter to Ploumen in which it sets out ‘the five most misleading statements’ made by the government on TTIP. Among these are questions on the risks to democracy and to national government policy on public health, the environment and consumer rights. Around 390 social organizations around Europe have already collected over two million signatures against TTIP.