TTIP leaks confirm unprecedented corporate attack

3 May 2016

Analysis of newly leaked documents on the EU-US trade negotiations (TTIP) has confirmed that the EU’s democracy, as well as safeguards for protecting people and the environment, are under a substantial and unprecedented corporate attack, according to Friends of the Earth Europe.  

The group has raised concerns about the EU’s food safety system, stating that there are too many warning signals to support claims by the European Commission that EU safety standards will remain if TTIP is agreed.

In relation to the leaked chapter on 'regulatory cooperation', the group's analysis shows that all approaches proposed by both the EU and the US – mutual recognition, harmonisation or simplification of regulations – will lead to the weakening, scrapping or delaying of social and environmental standards.

Friends of the Earth Europe has called for national governments to take action to halt the controversial TTIP talks.

Adrian Bebb, senior campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe, said:

“These leaked documents confirm that the TTIP is a Trojan horse treaty that will wreak havoc on our democracy and the safeguards that protect people and the environment. Millions of European citizens have been absolutely right to be concerned about what was being traded away behind closed doors. It is now imperative that national governments take action to pull the plug on this toxic deal and demand that the negotiations are stopped.”

Initial analysis of the leaked TTIP texts reveals fundamental differences on how to approach food safety. In particular, the US government is pushing to:

  • disempower Europe’s precautionary safety system, replacing it with trade-friendlier and weaker standards at the World Trade Organisation
  • undermine Europe’s right to govern by removing their ability to check whether US safety measures meet the generally higher EU food standards
  • remove the EU’s democratically controlled risk management of food safety issues, replacing it with a weaker and industry-friendly consultation process
  • speed up the approval of GM foods and crops, and to permit that seeds, food and feed can be contaminated with GM currently not authorised in the EU
  • Set up a new secretive dispute mechanism to deal with disagreements on food safety

There is increasing evidence that the European Commission has already, in practice, started to weaken the EU’s safety system, questioning whether they will be able to withstand such attacks during the negotiations.

As part of the inevitable trade-offs if negotiations proceed, the leaked documents indicate that the US is threatening to block exports of EU cars if increased access to US agriculture products are not improved. Last year, other leaked notes revealed that the EU was also willing to sacrifice EU farming to gain access to US local government services.

Mute Schimpf, food campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe, said:

“The TTIP leaked documents show that Europe’s food safety and farming is under substantial and unprecedented attack. Laws and practices that protect the European public and the environment are at serious risk of being watered down. The European Commission’s track record does not give us faith that they will protect our standards. The only logical step is for national governments to now stop the negotiations. Public safety should not be traded away.”

Friends of the Earth Europe has been campaigning for three years to stop the TTIP negotiations. This month we revealed how the TTIP would devastate European farming and also how the proposed investment court would enshrine preferential rights to big business.