Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Leaked Documents Confirm TTIP 'Amounts to a Huge Transfer of Power from People to Big Business'

Climate
Leaked Documents Confirm TTIP 'Amounts to a Huge Transfer of Power from People to Big Business'

Confirming that the TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) amounts to "a huge transfer of power from people to big business," Greenpeace Netherlands on Monday leaked 248 secret pages of the controversial trade deal between the U.S. and EU, exposing how environmental regulations, climate protections and consumer rights are being "bartered away behind closed doors."

The documents represent roughly two-thirds of the latest negotiating text, according to Greenpeace and on some topics offer for the first time the position of the U.S.

WikiLeaks had previously announced a €100,000 "bounty" for the full TTIP text. Photo credit: Greenpeace

Before Monday, elected representatives were only able to view such documents under guard, in a secure room, without access to expert consultation, while being forbidden from discussing the content with anyone else. This secrecy runs "counter to the democratic principles of both the EU and the U.S.," the website ttip-leaks.org declares.

And in the absence of transparency, "hard won environmental progress is being bartered away behind closed doors," Faiza Oulahsen, campaigner for Greenpeace Netherlands, said.

"Whether you care about environmental issues, animal welfare, labor rights or internet privacy, you should be concerned about what is in these leaked documents," Oulahsen said. "They underline the strong objections civil society and millions of people around the world have voiced: TTIP is about a huge transfer of democratic power from people to big business. We call on all elected representative and other concerned parties to read these documents and engage in the debate."

Greenpeace Netherlands zeroes in on four aspects of serious concern in the obtained texts, including:

  • The apparent omission of the so-called "General Exceptions rule," which allows nations to regulate trade "to protect human, animal and plant life or health" or for "the conservation of exhaustible natural resources;"

  • The absence of language about climate protection, plus provisions that would "stimulate imports and exports of fossil fuels—like shale gas from fracking or oil from tar sands—while clean energy production for local communities and associations would be considered unfair competition and a barrier to trade."

  • A clear threat to the "precautionary principle," which requires regulatory caution where there is scientific doubt, shifting the burden of proof on whether a product is safe to public authorities, not on those who seek to sell it;

  • The heretofore shrouded "high degree" of corporate influence over the talks.

According to the Guardian, which saw the original documents (retyped by Greenpeace and available here):

U.S. proposals include an obligation on the EU to inform its industries of any planned regulations in advance and to allow them the same input into EU regulatory processes as European firms.

American firms could influence the content of EU laws at several points along the regulatory line, including through a plethora of proposed technical working groups and committees.

"These leaks confirm what millions of people across Europe have suspected all along—that this toxic trade deal is essentially an enormous corporate power grab," Global Justice Now trade campaigner Guy Taylor said on Monday.

"It's no secret that the negotiations have been on increasingly shaky ground," Taylor continued, citing petitions signed by millions of Europeans and ongoing public protests. "These leaks should be seen as another nail in the coffin of a toxic trade deal that corporate power is unsuccessfully trying to impose on ordinary people and our democracies."

Similarly, War on Want Executive Director John Hilary declared: "Today marks the end of TTIP. Total secrecy was the only way the European Commission could keep the European people from learning the truth about these appalling negotiations and now the cat is out of the bag."

"We have long warned that TTIP is a danger to democracy, food safety, jobs and public services," Hilary continued. "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 13th round of TTIP talks took place last week in New York. U.S. President Barack Obama, who was stumping for the deal last month in Germany, had hoped to wrap up negotiations by the time he left office—a timeline that looks increasingly unrealistic.

Public support on both sides of the Atlantic has plummeted; leading U.S. presidential candidates oppose the deal and others like it; and President François Hollande on Sunday became just the latest French official to express skepticism about the deal.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

The Movement to Stop Fossil Fuel Development Is Winning

How This Small Town Is Winning the Water War Against Nestle

Warren Buffett Rejects Calls for Climate Change Report

Massive Victory for 7 Kids in Climate Change Lawsuit in Washington State

A majority of America's dams require billions of dollars in upgrades for them to handle heavier precipitation. skibreck / Getty Images

By Jeff Masters

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) gave America's infrastructure a C- grade in its quadrennial assessment issued March 3. ASCE gave the nation's flood control infrastructure – dams and levees – a D grade. This is a highly concerning assessment, given that climate change is increasingly stressing dams and levees as increased evaporation from the oceans drives heavier precipitation events.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Alex Wong / Getty Images

By Jacob Carter

On Wednesday, the Department of the Interior (DOI) announced that it will be rescinding secretarial order 3369, which sidelined scientific research and its use in the agency's decisions. Put in place by the previous administration, the secretarial order restricted decisionmakers at the DOI from using scientific studies that did not make all data publicly available.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Producing avocado and almond crops is having a detrimental effect on bees. Molly Aaker / Getty Images

At first glance, you wouldn't think avocados and almonds could harm bees; but a closer look at how these popular crops are produced reveals their potentially detrimental effect on pollinators.

Read More Show Less
An electric vehicle is plugged in to an EV charging station at a Walmart parking lot in Duarte, California on Sept. 14, 2018. FREDERIC J. BROWN / AFP via Getty Images

Six major U.S. electricity utilities will collaborate to build a massive EV charging network across 16 states, they announced Tuesday.

Read More Show Less
Matthew Micah Wright / The Image Bank / Getty Images

By Deborah Moore, Michael Simon and Darryl Knudsen

There's some good news amidst the grim global pandemic: At long last, the world's largest dam removal is finally happening.

Read More Show Less