TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) is the controversial proposed free trade agreement between the European Union and United States, which could be agreed by the end of the year; it aims to gradually remove all regulatory differences between the US and the EU (1). The European Commission has called it “the biggest trade deal in the world” (2). Yet many people are not aware of the proposals and the secretive decision making process behind them has been criticised as being wholly undemocratic.
Green Party Leader Natalie Bennett said:
“TTIP is a huge threat to hard-fought-standards for the quality and safety of our food, the sources of our energy and our privacy and risks undoing decades worth of EU progress on issues like worker’s rights.”
Bennett stated that the proposed deal threatened to “blow apart the power of our democratic decision making.
Let’s make no mistake, the proposed free trade deal is a huge threat to hard-fought-for standards for the quality and safety of our food, the sources of our energy, workers’ rights and our privacy. What's more, it would blow apart the power of our democratic decision making. The deal provides corporations with new rights to sue the Government for legislating in the public interest – that’s definitely not acting for the common good”.
Campaigning Charities such as the World Development Movement and Friends of the Earth have expressed major concerns at what is being proposed.
Of the other Parties, the Tories and Lib Dems are enthusastic supporters on behalf of their corporate friends. Labour are claiming they can keep the NHS out of the deal, but those close to the negotiations have said that isn 't possible. The only Groups in the European parliament to stand up to the corporate agenda are the Green group and the Left Group. As part of the fourth largest group in the European Parliament, it was the German Greens who exposed the negotiations and caused both the French and German governments to make public announcements that they could not possibly sign up to this.
The group Trade Justice Movement have asked UK candidates to sign a pledge to stand up for trade and investment rules that serve people and the environment, and promote development objectives; also to take action to bring about a full-scale re-think of the EU’s trade and investment policy (3). The great majority of those who have pledged so far are from the Green Party.