People, environment and democracy before profit and corporate rights

The European Water Movement signed the following statement of European Civil Society groups working against the TTIP threat, March 2014

1. Who are we?

We are an EU-wide coalition of civil society organisations who share a deep concern about the various threats posed by the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership TTIP (also known as Transatlantic Free Trade Agreement or TAFTA). We represent a wide range of public interests including environmental protection, public health, agriculture, consumer rights and protection of food and farming standards, animal welfare, social and labour standards, workers’ rights, development, public access to information and digital rights, essential public services including education, financial systems stability, and others.

We are strongly committed to challenging the ongoing negotiations for the TTIP, in order to ensure transparent and democratic policy debate. Any agreements must serve the public interest and our common future.

2. What is TTIP?

TTIP is a far-reaching agreement currently being negotiated between the European Commission (on behalf of EU Member States) and the USA government. It is less about trade as tariffs are already generally very low between the EU and the USA, and mostly about regulations, standards, corporate rights and investment guarantees.

The proposed TTIP supposedly aims at facilitating direct investment, and eliminating unnecessary bureaucratic hurdles to market access for corporations from both sides of the Atlantic.

However, evidence from business and industry positions reveals that the focus on non-tariff barriers and regulatory convergence is being used to push deregulation, increased investment guarantees, intellectual property rights leading to monopolies, and a race to the bottom. The proclaimed but unsubstantiated economic benefits are marginal to society at large even in the best case scenarios. All evidence to date suggests that these goals threaten important rights acquired in long democratic struggles and societal interests of the public in the EU, US, and the rest of the world.

Negotiations are happening behind closed doors, without comprehensive and effective public consultation. National parliaments are not even informed about the details of the Commission's negotiation texts - but the rare snippets of information that have been released -- or leaked -- raise considerable concerns.

The full statement