by Paul Gallagher
17 March 2016
demonstrate against the
and Investment Partnership (TTIP)
between the EU and
outside the European
Document obtained by campaign
shows legislation will be
before it reaches European
The European Commission will be obliged to consult with US
authorities before adopting new legislative proposals following
passage of a controversial series of trade negotiations being
carried out mostly in secret.
A leaked document (TTIP
Proposal for Chapter: Good Regulatory Practices) obtained by campaign group Corporate Europe
Observatory (CEO) and the Independent from the ongoing EU-US
Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)
negotiations reveals the unelected Commission will have authority to
decide in which areas there should be cooperation with the US -
leaving EU member states and the European Parliament further
The main objective of TTIP is to 'harmonize' transatlantic rules in a
range of areas - including food and consumer product safety,
environmental protection, financial services and banking.
The leaked document concerns the "regulatory cooperation" chapter of
the talks, which the European Union says will result in,
"cutting red tape for EU firms
without cutting corners".
It shows a labyrinth of procedures that
could tie up any EU proposals that go against US interests,
according to analysis by CEO.
The campaign group said the document also reveals the extent to
which major corporations and industry groups will be able to
influence the development of regulatory cooperation by making what
is referred to as a "substantial proposal" to the working agenda of
the Commission and US agencies.
The plans revealed by the document will give the US regulatory
authorities a "questionable role" in Brussels lawmaking and weaken
the European Parliament, CEO argues.
Kenneth Haar, researcher for CEO, said:
"EU and US determination to put big
business at the heart of decision-making is a direct threat to
This document shows how TTIP's regulatory
cooperation will facilitate big business influence - and US
influence - on lawmaking before a proposal is even presented to
Nick Dearden, director of the
Global Justice Now campaign group, said:
"The leak absolutely confirms our
fears about TTIP. It's all about giving big business more power
over a very wide range of laws and regulations.
business lobbies are on record as saying they want to co-write
laws with governments - this gets them a step closer. This isn't
an 'add on' or a small part of TTIP - it's absolutely central."
Mr Dearden said it was "scary" that the
US could get the power to challenge and amend European regulations
before elected European politicians have had the chance to debate
Referring to the imminent EU referendum, he said:
"We're talking about sovereignty at
the moment in this country - it's difficult to imagine a more
serious threat to our sovereignty than this trade deal."
CEO says greater regulatory cooperation
between the EU and the U.S. has already led to public health concerns
- such as the EU failing to regulate hormone-disrupting chemicals
and the recent Glyphosate relicensing controversy.
CEO claims that on both issues the Commission listened closely to US
authorities and big business despite the health threats posed by
these chemicals to EU citizens.
A spokesman for the European Commission said:
"These accusations are unfounded and
are not reflected in the EU proposal for simplifying rules for
The text on regulatory cooperation
will be published soon for everyone to see that this so-called
analysis is completely false, presents a biased view of the
European Commission's work and ignores the reality of EU texts.
Regulators - not trade negotiators -
will continue to lead regulatory cooperation initiatives - both
in the EU and the US."
Explainer - The TTIP
The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is
a proposed trade agreement between the EU and the US, with the aim
of promoting trade and multilateral economic growth.
The EU says that the aim of TTIP is to help people and businesses by
opening up the US to firms in the bloc, helping cut red tape that
firms face when exporting and setting new rules to make it easier
and fairer to export, import and invest overseas.
Anti-TTIP campaigners say the deal will increase the power of
multinationals at the expense of democracy and the general good.
One of the main issues around the negotiations is that so many of
the talks have been carried out in secret, with media leaks the only
way the public is being informed as to what is happening.
The European Commission says that the TTIP would boost the EU's
economy by €120bn, the US economy by €90bn and the rest of the world
The trade deal is opposed by unions,
charities, NGOs and environmentalists, particularly in Europe, with
critics previously telling The Independent that negative impacts
"reducing the regulatory barriers to
trade for big business, things like food safety law,
environmental and banking regulations and the sovereign powers
of individual nations," or more critically as an "assault on
European and US societies by transnational corporations".
The European Commission says once a
final text has been agreed it will be up to member state governments
and MEPs to decide on the implementation of the deal.
Leaked document highlights serious threat
by Kenneth Haar
So-called "regulatory cooperation" in the ongoing EU-US TTIP
talks seeks to bring legislation on both sides of the Atlantic
This chapter of the negotiations
means razing those "regulatory barriers" already in place and
preventing new ones from emerging. Lengthy procedures, including
vetting by business for possible economic impacts, are thus
envisaged for new regulations.
Such measures have already been used
informally to weaken EU ambition on financial sector supervision
in the years leading up to
the 2008 collapse, to offer a free
pass to US companies on personal data protection, and to delay
or water down EU proposals on animal testing and aviation
More recently, in the case of toxic hormone disrupting
chemicals, we've seen the European Commission siding closely
with US authorities and big business in refusing to take action
to restrict the use of these substances despite the
well-documented health threats posed to EU citizens.
Enshrining such procedures into legislation under TTIP will lead
to intensified attacks on laws that protect public health,
workers' rights and environmental standards.
This leaked document from the negotiations confirms fears that
the Commission will be obliged to consult with US authorities
before adopting new legislative proposals while EU Member States
and the European Parliament are sidelined.
The leak also offers a glimpse at
the proposed bureaucratic labyrinth of impact assessments,
dialogues, consultations and reviews that could tie up any
proposals that go against US business interests.
All in all, the extent to which big business will be able to
influence regulations under these proposals is a serious threat
to democracy as we know it.