Together, the European Union and the US account for roughly half of global GDP. So, a trade deal between the two economic giants makes sense, right? An EU-US trade deal (the so-called “Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership”) would boost growth and influence trade standards globally. However, critics argue that TTIP will harm democracy and erode environmental, health, food, and employment standards. Still, it’s up to people to make their own minds up, and to this end it’s worth discussing public awareness and the availability of information about TTIP.

Interested to know more about TTIP? We’ve put some of the facts and figures concerning the largest trade deal in history into the infographic below (click for a bigger image):


One of the key criticisms of TTIP is that the negotiations have been too secretive. In fact, we had a comment sent in by Akos suggesting exactly this. Is he right?

To get a response, we spoke to Bernd Lange, a Social Democrat MEP and Chair of the Committee on International Trade:

bernd-langeAt the beginning, yes, it was too secretive. And this was one of my main tasks when I took over the job of Chair of the Trade Committee. We were very clear to the Commission that we needed transparency otherwise we couldn’t negotiate any trade agreement. And, it has changed slowly. Now documents are published, and we have a dialogue with civil society. It’s not sufficient, but they are steps in the right direction. I’m totally convinced that without transparency we can’t make any trade deal, because trade deals influence our economic and social life, and therefore transparency is a key condition.

To get another perspective, we also put Akos’ question to Tiziana Beghin, an Italian MEP with the Five Star Movement, and also a member of the Committee on International Trade. What would she say?

ITThey say that the TTIP negotiations are now more transparent, but it’s not true at all. The only thing that has really changed is that, previously, just a few MEPs, like me, could have access certain types of documents and papers. And now all Members of the European Parliament can access the reading room where people can have access to consolidated papers from the EU side. However, although we have the possibility to do that now, we have to do it without a computer, phone, or even a dictionary. So, I can take some notes, but it’s not enough.

The text is only available in English, and it’s a very technical paper. I’m not an expert in each sector that TTIP is talking about. So it is really, really a poor kind of transparency. And I’m not the only one who should have the right to read these papers, but all citizens, NGOs, and experts should have the right to read these papers. In fact, MEPs need these experts to advise us about technical matters. So, this is not transparency.

Have the TTIP negotiations been too secretive? Are the public suitably informed about the EU-US trade deal? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below, and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!

IMAGE CREDITS: CC / Flickr – campact
The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsi­ble for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

40 comments Post a commentcomment

  1. avatar
    EU reform- proactive

    Easily to be confused with TPP! (“Trans Pacific Partnership”) Caution: the US is leading in “knotting, knitting & stitching” the whole world- to create a US corporate NWO for the Bilderbergers & Rothschilds- not for us folks.
    Generally, fair trade is good, unfair trade not and modern slavery evil!

    It is an “open” secrete that TTIP remains obscure. It is a disingenuous question! The undemocratic corporate EC elite is secretive in nature, arrogant and prescriptive to its voters! Despite that 300 civil society groups from across Europe filed a lawsuit against the European Commission at the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg in July 2014. The EC of course rejected the DEMOCRATIC official European Citizens’ Initiative (1 mio required)! It gathered nearly 3.3 mio signatures so far! Is the US trick of “regime change” the only alternative?


  2. avatar
    Alex Sascha

    TTIP is an act against the European people, only big corporations will benefit from this and say goodbye forever to our health care standards ecc

  3. avatar
    Dan Florin

    Stop TTIP, it’s not quite good as some of the MP’s try to describe it ..Will it serve the interests of the whole EU population or just those of big companies, that already have too many rights? This is very unclear. As far as I can see… and it happened during my life time, those who have the money are also the most supportives of those “freedoms” enforced by treaties like TTIP. If everyone of the 500 mil EU population will benefit from it, yes, let it be, otherwise NO.

  4. avatar
    Henrique Saias

    I can’t evaluate a secret treaty. Or, should I rely on Wikileaks?
    And, I don’t accept my country paying secret settlements for my elected government’s decisions.

  5. avatar
    Jaime Martins

    Stop TTIP NOW. Multinational enterprises are not elected, can’t have more power than EU or a Country.

  6. avatar
    Rui Duarte

    You damn well we don’t! The EU makes sure citizens know nothing about TTIP except that it exists.

  7. avatar
    Dominique Couturier

    EN/ FR (below) Of course they were too secretive! EU is “demictatorship”
    As a “simple” citizen of Europe and of the World, I understood something : trade is good, but modern trade is bad for a lot of reasons: climate change, grabbing of resources and so on. The ideology of neo-liberalism leads us to suicide (->Solyent green!). Unfortunatly, the fools, the insane control and decide. Greed IS NOT good and such agreements are planed in the interest of the 1%, not of the 99%.
    Word IS NOT a merchandise. Let’s keep education, health, culture, transports, water… (and so on) free of the influence of big corporations
    FR Bien sûr que ce fut trop secret! UE= “démocrature”
    En tant que simple citoyenne, d’Europe et du monde, j’ai compris depuis des années la chose suivante: le commerce peut être “bon”, mais l’emballement moderne du commerce mondialisé est une saloperie qui présente des tas de défauts: il nuit au climat, il participe à l’épuisement des ressources (pétrole, minerais etc…)
    L’idéologie du néo-libéralisme nous conduit au suicide de masse, type “Soleil vert”.
    Hélas, ce sont les fous et les salauds qui contrôlent le monde et décident. L’avidité n’est pas bonne, et de tels accords ne sont projetés que dans l’intérêt des 1%, pas des 99%. Ce qu’on nous promet est un mensonge, quant aux bénéfices “attendus” les peuples n’en auront au mieux que des miettes, au pire que des malheurs.
    Le MONDE n’est pas une marchandise. Remettons la Santé, l’éducation, la culture, les transports, l’eau etc… au coeur des services publics, libérons-les de l’influence des multinationales. PLACE AU PEUPLE
    PS: Si on compare ces deux versions de mon avis, on voit clairement que le “TINA linguistique” est également un gros handicap pour le Peuple, une façon de l’empêcher de communiquer et donner son avis. Je suis pourtant une personne éduquée qui reçoit -parfois- des compliments de Britanniques pour sa façon de “parler” anglais (= pour des bavardages superficiels). C’est simplement parce que EUX ne parlent pas ou très mal le français.

  8. avatar
    Toni Muñiz

    I am a Spanish citizen but also an American citizen, so I am used to corporations screwing over citizens, with the approval of government. So you can say I am used to it. What blows my mind is comments from a EU commissioner like Cecilia Malmstrom who is heading the negotiations and her stating “I do not take my mandate from the European people.” WOW!!!!!! Really? Who do you and the rest of the EU take your mandate from. As far a TTIP, anything done behind closed doors and keeping the citizens out of the loop can not be any good for us. And anything that comes out of the EU has not been good for us. So no, I don’t like TTIP, it will only make the elite and powerfull more elite and powerfull and us mere peasents more peasents. Read the following article: http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/i-didn-t-think-ttip-could-get-any-scarier-but-then-i-spoke-to-the-eu-official-in-charge-of-it-a6690591.html

  9. avatar
    Enric Mestres Girbal

    The EU aim since it’s creation is corruption and capitalism…let’s hope it burst soon and each country can deal independently.

  10. avatar
    Jude De Froissard

    Pros and cons of something done behind our back and mostly kept secret….and you ask our opinion. ….are you serious?

  11. avatar
    Davide Nicola

    Tell us… WHY do Members of European Parliament have NO access to the FULL documentation of TTIP?

  12. avatar
    Davide Nicola

    Tell us… WHY do Members of European Parliament have NO access to the FULL documentation of TTIP?

  13. avatar

    The less we know about it, the more we are affraid of it. Lets focus on critical points and negotiate to avoid its side effects. Before rejecting an agreement we have to discuss about it, be more assertive and demanding. First of all we should think about future generations and what environment we are going to create for them. We have to think about our present and not let our financial crisis blur our mind. We have to think clearly and see its long term perspective

  14. avatar
    Stella Kontogianni

    We really know nothing about it and everything seems to be secret. Why so? Are both sides satisfied by this agreement? I think Europe has more arguements against it, especially Southern Countries. Things like environmental impact, agricultural products and usage of hydrocarbons are some but critical parts of TTIP.

    • avatar
      Paul X

      Unfortunately these jobs will be in America

      America is creating this agreement for the benefit of America only, it doesn’t give a toss about Europe. ….The naivety and inexperience of the bunch of failed politicians that claim to run the EU is letting them have it all their own way which is why they are too embarrassed to allow the public to know what is going on

  15. avatar
    Глобалността и ние

    Idiots. Great Depression knocks on the door from 2008. Only piles of money, flowing from central banks and growing debts hamper it to enter.First you need to make the European United States with a common currency, common defense of working people and the minimum wage, a common fiscal policy and then think of such a contract.

  16. avatar

    Idiots. Great Depression knocks on the door from 2008. Only piles of money, flowing from central banks and growing debts hamper it to enter.First you need to make the European United States with a common currency, common defense of working people and the minimum wage, a common fiscal policy and then think of such a contract.

  17. avatar
    EU reform- proactive

    DE: “Interested to know more about TTIP?” A: Yes, of course- but only facts please, not wild assumptions! It appears that some of the provided “facts” are diplomatically massaged, wrongfully presented & deceitful utopian!

    Your Statement re: “…every citizen in Europe”? Query: “€ 545 richer/year”, in the EU (508mio)?, the Euro zone (<than EU)? or total Europe (~743mio)? Likely potentially poorer. All have different GDP per Capita and are differently developed. EU standards & attitudes will drop to "US neo- liberal" ones. Will the EU eventually be reduced to 28 EU provinces, the EC Brussels a US corporate branch office and the EU the newest US State No 53?- unofficially?

    EU commissioners have (hijacked) a treaty mandate to act on behalf of the EU only- not for the whole of Europe! What happened? Another silent regime change?

    How will EU member governments compensate for the lost tariffs in their budgets? Income Tax increases, stricter tax regime for multinationals or service delivery DECREASES? E.g. savings on all social services or less political appointees & institutions etc- or more privatizations & resultant higher consumption costs to citizens for basic services? EU Governments MUST maintain their immunity- like politicians have- alternatively- the ruling politicians must give up their immunity and become fodder for sue-hungry multi nationals!

    Outcome: The EC will sign! Member parliaments must query & veto- because the cursed & coerced EU parliament will just rubber stamp.

  18. avatar
    Dominique Couturier

    Ne pourriez-vous pas essayer de commenter en deux langues au moins?
    Please, try to comment in two languages, isn’t it possible?

  19. avatar
    catherine benning

    Read this deluded womans idea of a democratically elected direction. Is she ready to stand for an honest election of the people for her appointed position as Trade Minister? And going by this article she believes she will be taken seriously. Don’t laugh this is our lives she is playing with.


    I wonder how many perks she is getting from the TTIP lobby? Selling herself very cheaply on the trade deals I bet. How could it be otherwise when she spouts this kind of crap and expects us to believe it. It shows a very low IQ indeed.

    Direct Democracy, Swiss style, is the only answer for a continuing United Europe. Although, it is obvious now, we the British, are going to vote to be out of this menage or troika. And being sold down the river by those who would pick a complete nonentity to perform on our behalf is one of the reasons.

  20. avatar
    Pedro Pais de Vasconcelos

    Nobody knows, but very few, what is going on with those so called «negotiations». Pro-american Europeans «negotiate» with pro-american Americans, the best way to expand the american market and merge it with the european market, under the leadership of the american.
    The outcome shall not be approved without a previous wide and public debate, and a proper referendum.

  21. avatar
    Giö Cruz

    Obviously they aren’t. I understand the secretism, but once a deal of this magnitude is on the table, we should all be allowed to accept/decline it. I guess the deal by itself is (mostly) good, but the way they wanna push through the bad parts makes people furious.

  22. avatar

    If it were about tariffs and market access only TTIP negotiations were ok the old style intranparent way they are conducted. But TTIP is all about locking in regulation. This is something people have to have a say about.It needs to be made reversible. Transparency is a must and by far not enough.

  23. avatar
    Bella Ourique

    Seriously?it is embarrassing to come along with this question.
    Even the liberal parties who are generally welcoming trade agreements are indignant over it!!!
    Our economy is anyway Too “oldschool ” in germany,if we really get TTIP it will break our backbones!!! All our medium and small-sized Businesses suffer under These agreements and everything what makes the german economy so successful Too (eg quality Standards).
    Until now i did not get into touch with only one Professor or expert who is supporting it.
    And this Has a reason!!

  24. avatar
    Stefano Petrucco

    I am still gigling while thinking how they will harmonise the EU precautionary principle and the US proactionary one. Especially in food safety. I will just say beef hormone (since 2012 solved but it explains very well the conflict between principle), GMOs, pesticides……

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