Leaked TTIP Deal to Merge U.S. and EU Triggers Outrage


The New American
by Alex Newman

 

US-EU

Outrage is growing on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean following a massive new leak of the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), a globalist “trade” agreement negotiated between the Obama administration and the European Union. The leaked documents are being used, properly in some cases, to portray the treaty as a giant handout to Big Business cronies. Just as importantly, the almost 250 pages of text also confirm once again that the controversial new “trade” regime aims to merge the regulatory regimes of the United States and the EU under unaccountable transnational institutions. In short, the threats to liberty, privacy, self-government, and national sovereignty are very real. But critics are fighting back.  

With public support for the scheme collapsing and the new revelations sparking fury across the political spectrum, some analysts are actually heralding the death of TTIP. Top politicians, business leaders, and media outlets across Europe are suggesting that the end may be near for the unpopular pseudo-free trade agreement. However, despite the statements of some government leaders, without an even more massive outcry in the United States, the TTIP is unlikely to die a peaceful death anytime soon. Instead, globalists will continue working to impose their anti-sovereignty agenda on the world, just with more regulations to placate the controlled opposition from the Left that demands more environmental, consumer, and labor “protections.” Everybody agrees that chances for the scheme to come to fruition are better while Obama occupies the White House.

Among the leaked documents were more than a dozen key sections of the massive agreement. Most of the coverage surrounding those sections has centered on allegations by Greenpeace, which leaked the documents, about an alleged lack of sufficient regulations in everything from the environment and labor to investments and consumer protection. There are some very valid concerns in terms of the regulatory tsunami emerging from the negotiations. In a statement, Greenpeace explained why it leaked the documents, and why it thinks you should care about what is revealed in them. Basically, the deal is “a huge transfer of power from people to big business,” Greenpeace said.

Of course, the increasingly radical regulatory bureaucracies of the EU and the Obama administration are not “people” — and they are already dominated in large measure by the establishment and its cronies. However, the whining about specific regulations completely misses the point. The real story is not that the TTIP regime will not regulate Americans and Europeans, or “the climate,” with sufficient zealotry. Though widely overlooked in the media, the real story is that bureaucrats and lobbyists are working behind closed doors to fashion regulations that will purportedly govern almost a billion people and half of the global economy, all with no accountability to the people subject to the grandiose schemes.

The deal also allows so-called “eurocrats” to meddle in U.S. policy, and vice versa. One proposal floated by the Obama administration that came out in the leaks, for example, would force the EU to give U.S. companies advanced notice of proposed regulations and then allow them to provide “input” in influencing the regulatory regime. “Before the EU could even pass a regulation, it would have to go through a grueling impact assessment process in which the bloc would have to show interested U.S. parties that no voluntary measures, or less exacting regulatory ones, were possible,” fumed Greenpeace EU boss Jorgo Riss, totally missing the point on the real dangers posed by the TTIP.

Riss was outraged at various other proposals by the Obama administration contained in the documents, too. “These leaked documents give us an unparalleled look at the scope of U.S. demands to lower or circumvent EU protections for environment and public health as part of TTIP,” he said. “The EU position is very bad, and the U.S. position is terrible. The prospect of a TTIP compromising within that range is an awful one. The way is being cleared for a race to the bottom in environmental, consumer protection and public health standards.”

Other Greenpeace statements and officials gave similar warnings, suggesting that their opposition to the TTIP concerns mostly a few quibbles about the number and scope of specific regulatory schemes rather than the real issues. Sylvia Borren, the executive director of Greenpeace Netherlands, which released the leak, practically spelled that out. “We call on citizens, civil society, politicians and businesses to engage in this debate openly and without fear,” she said. “We call on the negotiators to release the latest, complete text to facilitate that discussion, and we ask that the negotiations be stopped until these questions, and many more have been answered. Until we can fully engage in a debate about the standards we and our planet need and want.”

After Greenpeace and the “planet” get the transnational Big Government regulations they “need and want,” the TTIP can proceed as planned, as far as Greenpeace is apparently concerned. “We have done so to provide much needed transparency and trigger an informed debate on the treaty,” the group said. “This treaty is threatening to have far reaching implications for the environment and the lives of more than 800 million citizens in the EU and US. Whether you care about environmental issues, animal welfare, labor rights or internet privacy, you should be concerned about what is in these leaked documents. They underline the strong objections civil society and millions of people around the world have voiced: TTIP is about a huge transfer of power from people to big business.” If eurocrats in Brussels keep the power, though, apparently the deal is OK.

Some of the concerns Greenpeace has raised, though, are impacting the debate. For example, Greenpeace, which opposes genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in food, has lashed out at TTIP developments. The documents reportedly show the Obama administration trying to do favors for globalist GMO giant Monsanto, which lavishly funds the campaigns of politicians in both major U.S. parties. Under the draft agreement, U.S. imports of agricultural goods that contained traces of genetically engineered organisms could be allowed. Currently those shipments would be banned over concerns about potential contamination and safety issues, and in Europe the ban is quite popular with the public.   

Some business leaders, though, spoke out against the process. “I just believe that what the EU is doing is essentially against the will of the European people, who are mostly happy with the regulation and have a large degree of skepticism about genetically modified crops,” said CEO Mark Garrett of Austria-based chemicals producer Borealis. “I don’t understand why governments would act not in the interest of their own people. But then, I live in Switzerland, where the government has to act in the interest of people.” In fact, the EU has lashed out at the Swiss, who overwhelmingly refuse to join the EU, on more than a few occasions, for precisely that reason.  

Also included in the leak this weekend was a document outlining the internal positions of the EU super-state and the Obama administration, and the alleged differences between the parties. While much of that will be sorted out in upcoming negotiating sessions, some of the differences were described as potentially “irreconcilable.” At least in the press, the EU is being portrayed as giving in to Washington, D.C., on loosening environmental protections and other government “standards” to help everyone. But the two parties were reportedly stuck on issues such as cosmetics, where an EU ban on animal testing is apparently not going to give way.  

In the wake of the leak, European media outlets rushed to condemn the treaty. Socialist French President Francois Hollande, only slightly less unpopular than the widely loathed U.S. Congress, even suggested after the leak that the “trade” scheme was doomed — at least “at this stage.” Even before the new revelations, though, the TTIP was radically unpopular. While more than half of Americans and Germans supported the deal in 2014 polls, just 17 percent of Germans and 15 percent of Americans now do, according to a recent YouGov survey. If trends continue, the scheme will soon have essentially no backers outside of crony capitalists, the globalist establishment, and their lackeys.

But the recent brouhaha surrounding the leaked information should be examined critically. While the information in the leak is valuable, Americans and Europeans should be careful to see through the media and Greenpeace spin. The real problem with the TTIP is not that it allegedly reduces a few draconian EU environmental restrictions or “consumer protection” schemes. Therefore, the solution is not and cannot possibly be to renegotiate the section on environmental restrictions, or anything of the sort, as the controlled opposition has suggested.

Instead, the real problem with TTIP is systemic: the fact that the deal purports to strip Americans and Europeans of their inalienable right to self-government and self-determination by allowing regulations and other coercive controls to be developed and imposed by unelected, unaccountable transnational institutions. Plus, real free trade, assuming it is desirable, does not require hundreds or even thousands of pages of regulations and decrees developed by lobbyists and bureaucrats.  

As the leaked documents confirm yet again, the radical plot to merge the EU and the United States under a supranational regulatory regime is an abomination — a threat to liberty, sovereignty, and prosperity. In Europe, sovereignty has already been surreptitiously stolen over generations, all under the deceptive guise of advancing pseudo-“free trade.” The United States must not allow the same forces to do the same thing here. The American people should demand that Congress reject both the TTIP and the equally dangerous Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). It can still be stopped.

Alex Newman, a foreign correspondent for The New American, is normally based in Europe. Follow him on Twitter @ALEXNEWMAN_JOU. He can be reached at anewman@thenewamerican.com

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