Over 100 campaign groups from across Europe have rejected trade negotiations currently being held between the US and EU as an attack on civil and consumer rights.
The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is currently in its fifth round of negotiations, and, on the eve of the European elections, a confederation of widely represented campaign groups signed a petition demanding an immediate rewriting of the proposed agreement.
The campaign groups believe the deal is being negotiated in the interests of big corporations, at the expense of citizens and the environment.
John Hilary, director of the charity War on Want, said, “If this trade agreement is allowed to go through, it will be the biggest transfer of power to capital that we have seen in a generation.”
Meanwhile Nick Dearden, director of the World Development Movement, said, “The deal attacks democracy, public services and the laws that protect citizens in the UK and the rest of the EU.”
A leaked memo earlier this week confirmed that no regard will be given for regulations on environmentally damaging exports like fracking. The text, leaked to the Huffington Post, is a compilation of non-regulatory demands by large energy parties.
Article C, entitled ‘Export Restrictions’, lists no export restrictions – but instead defines an automatic approval for all “exports of energy goods to the party, which shall be deemed automatically to comply with any conditions and tests”.
There is also no mention of regulation that would protect people from environmentally damaging resource extractions like fracking, as well as no reference to the current EU laws in place that protect people from damaging pollutants and chemical waste.
This is similar for energy prices and fluctuations. “A public obligation” – as long as it is “no more burdensome than necessary” – should be “clearly defined and of limited duration”, the memo says.
The EU-US trade agreement has been scrutinised for its secrecy and ‘overblown’ benefits. The World Development Movement (WDM) in March cited research showing David Cameron’s support for TTIP was “deeply flawed” and regarded by some political scientists as “misleading”.
Elsewhere, a report entitled Reducing Transatlantic Barriers to Trade and Investment released in March last year by the EU defines the origins of TTIP. The principle objective was to assess the reduction in trade tariffs and domestic policy obligations – placing an importance on trade over domestic policy such as public health, environmental and social protection.