On Saturday (18 April), hundreds of demonstrations took place across Europe and the world in a “global day of action”. The protesters were marching against the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Pact (TTIP) – a planned free trade agreement between the US and the EU. The next round of negotiations over TTIP are due to begin on Monday (20 April) in New York, and the protests over the weekend were the largest yet.
Opponents of the pact argue that it will damage European democracy, environmental rules, food standards and labour laws. However, the EU Commissioner for Trade, Cecilia Malmström, has written in her blog that such claims “do not have a basis in reality”.
We had a comment sent in by Anders arguing exactly that TTIP would harm democracy:
TTIP in its current form allows corporations to SUE countries and governments over laws ‘limiting’ their operations. This opens the door wide open to abuse of all kinds by big corporations, and effectively renders governments and countries in the pockets of Big Business. Democracy will suffer horrendously, freedom and rights that we currently have will also be adversely affected.
Anders is referring specifically to the Investor-state Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanism, which has emerged as the most controversial aspect of the proposed TTIP deal.
To get a response to Anders, we put his comment to Cecilia Malmström for her reaction:
But is the ISDS really a red line for the negotiations? In the US, there are some Members of Congress equally worried about giving too much power to sinister “European firms”. We had a comment sent in by Mhitsos arguing it is the “most important aspect of TTIP”, but is he right? Could the TTIP talks continue without an agreement on the ISDS?
Are the TTIP negotiations stalled? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below, and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!