Oct 28, 2015
Adding yet another voice to the growing chorus of European activists and government officials who oppose the TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the U.S. and EU, the president of the German Bundestag, or parliament, has threatened to vote against the so-called "trade" agreement due to its lack of transparency and democratic legitimacy.
"I see no chance that the Bundestag would ratify a trade agreement between the EU and the USA without involvement in how it came together or any say regarding alternatives," Norbert Lammert said in an interview with Germany's FUNKE Media Group on Wednesday.
Lammert agreed with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker that all the relevant documentation "must be available to the governments and parliaments of all members of the EU." He said he "will insist on that."
Currently German MPs can only see key TTIP negotiation documents by going personally to the U.S. Embassy in Berlin. The secrecy surrounding the mammoth trade deal has engendered scathing criticism as well as a EUR100,000 reward for the full text.
Indeed, opposition to the corporate-friendly pact, which has been criticized by environmentalists, consumer watchdogs, and public health groups, appears to be spreading across the continent.
Following a 200,000-strong anti-TTIP march in Berlin on October 10, a poll mid-month showed that close to half of the German populace is opposed to the deal. Late last month, a French trade minister said that because TTIP talks were favoring American interests, "France is considering all options including an outright termination of negotiations." And this week, it was reported that leaders of almost every major political party in the United Kingdom, including recently elected Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, have signed an appeal to keep the UK's National Health Service (NHS) out of the TTIP.
Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has also written separately to Prime Minister David Cameron saying: "I urge the Government to ensure that the NHS is fully exempt from TTIP and, if that is not the case, to use its veto at the European Council to prevent TTIP progressing."
Amid controversy, the latest round of TTIP discussions concluded last week in Miami. Based on the agreement's faltering progress and dwindling support, the UK-based social justice group War on Want declared that TTIP may not be completed by the end of the Obama presidency. As War on Want trade campaigner Mark Dearn explained, "TTIP negotiations are not going as planned--neither in terms of satisfying what each side wants, meeting deadlines, nor in fulfilling supposed 'outreach' with civil society groups."
"Millions of people across Europe [are] calling for an immediate end to TTIP negotiations," Dearn said. "EU governments would be better off listening to their constituents than continuing with these secret negotiations the people of Europe do not want."
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