Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership:
Trading away the European project?

Saturday, 9 november 2013

original version


TTIP stands for Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, the biggest pet project of the European Commission. For the t-tippies Barroso and his trade commissioner De Gucht, it will solve half of Europe's problems. It will bring stability to the economy and wealth to each family. It will create new global trade rules which the world is waiting for and which are good for European companies. It will show China that we stand up to its might and put everything back into the economic order we so happily enjoyed in the last half of the last century. It will help our US friends to realise that their future is on this side of the Atlantic, and not in the Pacific. It will boost our pride that by now we are better than the Americans and can out-compete them.

For the Greens, TTIP is at best a promise creating frivolous hopes. At worst, it is a backdoor avenue for big industry to neutralize social and environmental achievements in the EU and make sure that new European legislation will not stand in the way of corporate interests.

Sure is already that TTIP will strain the transatlantic relations. The real stuff in the TTIP negotiations comes along under the innocent term of "regulatory cooperation". Both sides will need to compromise about the way they organize their societies, protect their citizen, and project liveable futures for their political communities. TTIP will add to the many transatlantic conflicts already existing, such as the treatment of GMOs, hormone beef and chemicals, or the role of public services, data protection and agriculture. What is sure already is that TTIP stands less for Transatlantic Partnership and more for Transatlantic Toxic Interest-conflicts promoted.

When TTIP negotiations started in July 2013, the NSA scandal revealed by Snowden underlined dramatically the rifts in the political cultures on both sides of the Atlantic. The Greens appealed to the Commission to not open the negotiations as long as the NSA scandal was not cleared. More than 2000 citizen supported our pledge online in a matter of hours.

But Greens were and remain alone. All the other big political groups enthusiastically support the TTIP project, with the Socialists & Democrats in the first line. The TTIP will depend on this support of a grand coalition in the European Parliament. The negotiations will be so difficult that they need constant political input. And in the end, the European Parliament will need to approve the result. So it is all the more important that a strong Green Group in the European Parliament calls the shots.

The Roundtable will present the challenges of TTIP in some key areas important for the Greens and discuss the perspectives for a Green campaign across Europe. 

Introduction, moderation and conclusion: Yannick Jadot

Interventions: Rebecca Harms, José Bové.