German Greenpeace activists project the leaked TPIP documents on the walls of the Reichstag building in Berlin.
The one thing the Internet does extremely well is to provide citizens of the world a first-hand look at documents the powerful try desperately to keep secret, documents we should all known about if we are to make uniformed choices about our lives.
And the latest online bombshell [previously] comes from the Netherlands, it’s subject the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership — the largest trade agreement in history, negotiated in secret by representatives of corporations, banks, and national and regional governments on both sides of the Atlantic.
From Greenpeace Netherlands:
Today Greenpeace Netherlands releases secret documents of the EU-US TTIP negotiations. On www.ttip-leaks.org the documents will be made available for everyone to read, because democracy needs transparency.
“These documents make clear the scale and scope of the trade citizens of the United States and the European Union are being asked to make in pursuit of corporate profits. It is time for the negotiations to stop, and the debate to begin.
Should we be able to act when we have reasonable grounds to believe our health and wellbeing is at risk, or must we wait until the damage is done?
Were our governments serious in Paris when they said they would do what was necessary to protect the planet, and keep climate change under 1.5 degrees?
Environmental protection should not be seen as a barrier to trade, but as a safeguard for our health, and the health of future generations.
We call on citizens, civil society, politicians and businesses to engage in this debate openly and without fear. We call on the negotiators to release the latest, complete text to facilitate that discussion, and we ask that the negotiations be stopped until these questions, and many more have been answered. Until we can fully engage in a debate about the standards we and our planet need and want” – Sylvia Borren, Executive Director Greenpeace Netherlands.
A report from RT offers some context:
While the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the US and Europe is set to create the world’s largest free trade zone, many Europeans worry the agreement would elevate corporate interest above national interest. TTIP opponents say that cheaper goods and services would only hurt the EU and help the US.
Europeans argue that international corporations would be given power at the expensive of small and medium-sized businesses. The secrecy surrounding the negotiations has also come under fierce criticism.
Just a day before Obama’s visit to Germany, thousands of anti-TTIP protesters hit the streets of Hanover.
According to a recent survey conducted by pollsters YouGov on behalf of the Bertelsmann Foundation, only 17 percent of Germans think the TTIP is a good thing, down from 55 percent two years ago. In the United States, only 18 percent of people now support the deal, compared to 53 percent in 2014.
More from Foreign Policy, including the sense of urgency driving the Obama administration in its mania to gut the European regulatory regime:
Less than two weeks after Obama made his pitch to Europe for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or TTIP, documents leaked by Greenpeace on Monday are giving many European opponents of the deal further ammunition to shoot it down. The secret documents show, among other things, “irreconcilable” differences in some areas, and that the two sides are still at odds over U.S. demands that would require the EU to break environmental protection promises.
“Discussions on cosmetics remain very difficult and the scope of common objectives fairly limited,” reads an internal note by EU trade negotiators. Because of a European ban on animal testing, “the EU and U.S. approaches remain irreconcilable and EU market access problems will therefore remain,” the note says.
Proponents of the deal, which would cover more than 800 million people, scrambled into damage control mode Monday. “In that sense, many of today’s alarmist headlines are a storm in a teacup,” Cecilia Malmström, the European Union’s trade commissioner, said in a blog post.
If the deal gets pushed to the next administration, Obama will be forced to abandon not just TTIP, but likely the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a massive, 12-nation Asia trade deal that covers nearly 40 percent of global GDP. Both Republican and Democratic lawmakers have warned the president that there are not enough votes to get it through Congress. Obama wants both deals done before he leaves the Oval Office.
European reservations on the rise
Deutsche Welle’s report on the leak notes Obama’s central role in pushing for the pact:
In April, Obama defended the necessity of the trade deal, which would currently cover roughly one-third of global trade, prior to his arrival in Hanover, where demonstrators called for the negotiations to be suspended.
“There’s still barriers that exist that prevent businesses and individuals that are providing services to each other to be able to do so seamlessly,” Obama told British broadcaster BBC. “The main thing between the United States and Europe is trying to just break down some of the regulatory differences that make it difficult to do business back and forth.”
However, German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel, who also serves as deputy chancellor, said the trade deal would “fail” if Washington did not offer concessions.
“The Americans want to hold on to their ‘Buy American’ idea. We can’t accept that. They don’t want to open their public tenders to European companies. For me that goes against free trade” Gabriel told German business newspaper “Handelsblatt” recently.” If the Americans stick to this position, we don’t need the free trade treaty. And TTIP will fail.”
There’s lots more, after the jump. . . Continue reading