The transatlantic trade agreement TTIP is a concrete litmus test for democracy. Fortunately there are strong public protests against this deal.
The EU now suffers under a deficiency in democracy. For example, the EU parliament has no right to propose laws and guidelines. The European commission that has this right of initiative wants to completely amputate the parliament through economic associations.
In the framework of the transatlantic trade agreement TTIP, a regulatory council should be established to harmonize all laws with European and US-American corporate interests. This cannot dissolve the dangers for employees, the environment, consumer protection and health. With TTIP, we lose the basic democratic right to form our future. Before a legal draft can reach the hands of a delegate or the general public, it would already have been coordinated with the US government and corporate lobbyists.
If a law is passed that does not suit a company, the company would have the possibility of suing the government for compensation before an arbitration court. Limits are hardly set to the lawsuit-rage of corporations: minimum wages, an import-prohibition for toxic substances, laws against tax dumping, shorter running times for nuclear power plants and a moratorium for dangerous fracking. Corporations have already filed lawsuits against all this — usually successfully — on the basis of the investment- and trade agreement.
Businesses are granted this special right to sue in the already negotiated agreement of the EU with Canada (CETA) which is regarded as a blueprint for the TTIP. States cannot appeal the judgments.
For all these reasons, the German Left Party (DIE LINKE) rejects both TTIP and CETA. The unions, the Greens and the SPD are predominantly against them. On the other hand, economics minister Gabriel wants to approve CETA and TTIP and has insulted Germans on account of their hesitations as “rich and hypocritical.”
CETA and TTIP are concrete touchstones for our democracy. For democracy’s defense, we need strong movements, unions and critical media to indict politicians in bondage to corporations.