TTIP is a secretly negotiated trade deal between the U.S. and the EU, and all indications are that it will replace each nation’s drug-safety, product-safety, food-safety, environmental, and worker-protection, regulations and laws, placing them into the hands of panels composed of appointees of large international corporations, no longer in the hands of publicly elected officials, no longer in the hands of elected politicians, who need to face voters periodically in order to stay in power. Basically: U.S. President Barack Obama is demanding that European nations weaken their regulations, but has been encountering stiff resistance from some, which has dragged out negotiations.
German Economic News headlined, on 4 February 2015, “TTIP: civil rights complaint alleging secret negotiations,” and reported that Europe’s Ombudsman, Emily O’Reilly, said: “American objection to the publication of certain TTIP documents is not a sufficient reason, alone on its own, to withhold information from the European public. The Commission will at all times ensure that exceptions to the basic rights of EU citizens are justified and reasonable whenever there is a limitation on access to documents.” But, she didn’t do anything to enforce her statement; the non-disclosure continued.
Furthermore, “In July, the European Court had to decide whether the public should have access to institutional documents. The conclusion: Only in exceptional cases would a refusal be possible. The judges ruled at that time that documents of international scope (such as TTIP) are not automatically excluded from the European Transparency Requirements.” Obama lost on that one too.
However, still, nothing has yet been made public about the TTIP terms; and the many consumer, worker, and other organizations, that have demanded to see what is in the agreement, have faced a stone wall of inaction, even after court decisons in their favor.
Despite this secrecy and foot-dragging against the public, Europe’s public seem to want whatever is inside that black box, regardless of whether it’s lowering their product-safety standards, lowering their worker-protections, lowering their environmental protections, or whatever. In fact, on 20 February 2015, German Economic News bannered, “EU survey: European citizens are enthusiastic about TTIP,” and reported: “The EU has published a survey according to which citizens are downright euphoric about the free trade agreement TTIP. In all, 25 Member States [of the 28] there will pour sheer enthusiasm over the completely secretly negotiated agreement, but for one small exception: Germans are mostly against the TTIP.” Actually, however, tiny Austria was even more strongly against it, and was the only nation to be majority-opposed to TTIP.
The only English-language publication of the results of that EU poll has been the 6 January 2015, “Eurobarometer: who’s for and against TTIP in EU”; and here were the national breakdowns, as published there:
“Eurobarometer: who’s for and against TTIP in EU”
06 Jan , 2015. No Comments [that’s how obscure this publication was: 0 comments].
Question: “What is your opinion on each of the following statements? Please tell me for each statement, whether you are for it or against it. (ONE ANSWER PER LINE). A free trade and investment agreement between the EU and the USA”:
EU average 58/ 25/ 17
Austria 39/ 53/ 8
Belgium 66/ 26/ 8
Bulgaria 64/ 14/ 22
Croatia 67/ 23/ 10
Cyprus 59/ 25/ 16
Czech Rep. 62/ 25/ 13
Denmark 71/ 17/ 12
Estonia 72/ 11/ 17
Finland 62/ 21/ 17
France 50/ 33/ 18
Germany 39/ 41/ 20
Greece 61/ 32/ 7
Hungary 62/ 28/ 10
Ireland 71/ 15/ 14
Italy 58/ 22/ 20
Latvia 66/ 18/ 16
Lithuania 79/ 9/ 12
Luxembourg 40/ 43/ 17
Malta 75/ 11/ 14
Netherlands 74/ 18/ 8
Poland 73/ 11/ 16
Portugal 60/ 23/ 17
Romania 75/ 11/ 14
Slovakia 62/ 26/ 12
Slovenia 57/ 31/ 12
Spain 63/ 19/ 18
Sweden 59/ 26/ 15
U.K. 65/ 19/ 16
Now that you know that the survey’s question was actually referring to “A free trade and investment agreement between the EU and the USA,” and that it made no mention at all of TTIP, nor of Obama’s demand that it be approved in secret, does this change your mind about what is, and has been, actually going on here? The poll-findings were misreported to the press, which (to the extent that the press reported them, which was little) misreported them to the public.
(NOTE: The only independent economic analysis that has been done of TTIP concluded that, even without considering the lowered safety-standards for drugs and other products, and for the environment, etc., it would very much harm European economies, and that it would probably even harm people in the lower 99% of America’s economy; but this economic analysis was never publicized.)
The EU itself (its “European Commission”) wrote each one of the poll-questions. What do you think of their having written a poll-question about “A free trade and investment agreement between the EU and the USA,” and then publicized the findings as if they had instead been about TTIP, which wasn’t even mentioned in the question (and there was also no mention in it about Obama’s demand for secrecy)?
What does all of this information suggest to you, then, about whether the U.S. Congress will likely give President Obama “fast-track” approval of this treaty, instead of debate and discuss it in public and in the open, prior to granting any such approval of it?
If this deal wins approval in both Europe and America without any authentic democratic process, on either side of the Atlantic, then what would that indicate about the meaning of the term ‘democracy’ as applied in and to Europe, and in and to America?
How serious a concern should this be; and is the TTIP matter receiving in the ‘news’ media an appropriate degree of concern and corresponding attention in the press?
If it’s not receiving the public attention in your country, that it deserves, then what does this fact itself say about the meaning of ‘democracy,’ as being applied to your country?
Has the term ‘democracy’ become then merely a sham? Is it now purely for propaganda – no longer actually descriptive of your country?
Where is this world heading? Are huge international corporations, and their leading stockholders, replacing nation-states and their citizens, so as to turn those citizens into no longer citizens but mere subjects of a huge new international aristocracy, the U.S. aristocracy and its affiliated and dependent subordinate aristocracies in all U.S.-allied nations – a return of feudalism, but on an international scale, via a modern form of feudalism: internationalized fascism, America’s Empire?
Are you concerned about this? Should your children be?
If so: What can be done against it? Who will start it, and how? And when?
Should it start now, by all Presidential candidates being asked their view of TTIP? Would that perhaps defeat Obama – and Hillary Clinton, and Jeb Bush, and … all the boosters of American Empire? Would that defeat the international aristocracy, and their political agents (such as those) for the very first time, and so start our world back on the road toward democracy, and away from the very dangerous imperial path it’s now on?
And should all ‘news’ people who refuse to drill down on this (perhaps because their bosses won’t allow it) become tuned-out (and their ‘news’ organizations turned off) by the public?
And, should this same demand be made on Obama’s similar proposed TPP trade-deal with Asia, and his similar proposed global TISA trade-deal on banks and other financial companies, the latter of which deal aims to facilitate financial fraud by lowering reporting-standards etc.?
(NOTE: The euphemisms for all of these proposed U.S.-pushed trade-deals are “trade liberalization,” “free trade,” and “getting rid of bureaucracy.” With phraseologies like that, we’re heading toward a paradise for mega-crooks, if Obama and other champions of the American aristocracy win.)
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.