In May 2016 Greenpeace Netherlands released copies of the highly secretive negotiation documents on the TTIP so-called "trade deal" between the EU and the US.
The highly secretive nature of the TTIP negotiations and the extremely anti-democratic attitude of the EU institutions towards opponents of the deal have already created a huge rise in opposition to TTIP. In fact almost 3.5 million European citizens have already signed a petition against TTIP and several European governments are threatening to veto the deal if it is presented in its current format.
One of the biggest complaints about the TTIP corporate power grab is the inclusion of Investor State Dispute Settlements, which are designed to allow multinational corporations to completely bypass national democratic and judicial institutions in order to sue nation states in secretive transnational tribunals. These appalling ISDS rules have already been written into countless so-called free trade deals across the world, allowing corporations to sue countries whenever their democratically elected governments introduce policies that might reduce their profits. From the introduction of plain cigarette packaging, through bans on toxic petrol additives to environmental laws to stop the corporate destruction of the natural environment - multinational corporations have been using ISDS rules to sue governments all over the world.
The leaked TTIP documents show that the US are refusing to budge on demands for removal of the ISDS components of the TTIP corporate power grab. This is no surprise whatever given that the highly lucrative and rapidly growing transnational law industry is almost entirely based in the US*, and many of the biggest beneficiaries of ISDS tribunals so far have been US based multinational corporations.
Greenpeace analysis of the leaked documents also reveal that the TTIP negotiations are designed to weaken European laws and regulations, especially in areas like the food industry, pesticides and insecticides, genetically modified organisms and the chemicals industry.
TTIP negotiators have already defined things like energy efficiency labels; fuel efficiency standards for cars; sustainable public procurement policies; regulation of unconventional fossil fuel extraction, including shale gas and tar sands; sustainability standards for bio-energy; and the banning of climate-damaging f-gases in appliances such as refrigerators and freezers as "technical barriers to trade".
It's absolutely clear that TTIP is designed to weaken European standards and create a situation where European governments are powerless to restrain the excesses of multinational corporations, because they will be sued in US dominated secret transnational tribunals every time they try to introduce new laws that multinational corporations object to.
John Hilary of War on Want had this to say about the TTIP leaks:
"We have long warned that TTIP is a danger to democracy, food safety, jobs and public services. Now we see it is even worse than we feared. Today's leak shows the European Commission preparing to sell us down the river, doing deals behind closed doors that will change the face of European society for ever. It is simply unacceptable that a group of unelected officials should be allowed to contemplate such a thing without any public scrutiny."The fact that the people of Europe are reliant upon secret documents leaked via Greenpeace in order to get a proper idea of what is being negotiated between unelected technocrats behind closed doors is appalling, especially since the establishment class are always willing to trot out the Orwellian mantra of "if you've got nothing to hide, you've got nothing to fear" in order to justify the highly intrusive, privacy destroying state surveillance powers they want to award to themselves.
Now that it's absolutely clear that the TTIP corporate power grab will erode European standards and allow multinational corporations to completely bypass democratic and judicial institutions in European states, the deal should be scrapped in its entirety. What is more, the EU should begin an enquiry into how secretive negotiations towards a damaging, anti-democratic corporate power grab were ever allowed to develop so far in the first place.
- If you want to download the leaked TTIP documents and look at them for yourself, here's the link again.
- If you would like to join the 3.4 million+ people who have signed the petition against TTIP, here's that link.
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