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EU Releases TTIP Negotiating Texts; Activists Ignore Them

Posted January 21, 2015

Evidently making good on the promise by EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström last year to ensure greater levels of transparency “as part of a ‘fresh start’ on the TTIP,” the European Commission earlier this month made publically available its negotiating texts and position papers regarding the proposed deal’s key aspects: market access; regulatory cooperation; and rules.

The Commission states that the position papers “set out and describe the European Union’s general approach on topic in the TTIP negotiations.  They are tabled for discussion with the US in negotiating rounds” and the textual proposals are “the European Union's initial proposals for legal text on topics in TTIP.” The government body vows to publish further texts as they become available.

Given the vociferous and arguably quite legitimate demands from many sectors of civil society for greater transparency in the trade negotiation process, one might have thought that news of this breakthrough would be widely hailed as a great achievement by activists opposed to the TTIP. Rather surprisingly however, that doesn’t seem to be the case at all. Of the 13 anti-TTIP organizations listed on the website of the Green/European Free Alliance Group of the European Parliament (“TTIP: Beware What Lies Beneath”), only one of them even bothered to mention this significant new development in transparency.  

In fact, a quick look at the Sierra Club website reveals that it is still loudly contending that TTIP is “cloaked in secrecy” and that the “U.S. and the EU are holding trade talks in secrecy behind closed doors, and refusing to share text with the public.” Other activist anti-TTIP groups listed remain likewise obliviously steadfast in refusing to acknowledge the changing reality their efforts to some extent helped bring about, which is quite ironic in a sense.  

The lone organization to make note of the Commission’s public disclosure was Campagna Stop TTIP Italia that not expectedly dismissed the initiative as nothing but “the usual shell game” and contemptuously referred to the documents as being “irrelevant” and “insufficient” to meet their demands for complete disclosure and full public involvement in all aspects of the negotiating process. The group was though happy to self-righteously crow about having made a “point in favor of the campaign Stop-TTIP, who contested from the beginning, the deafening silence on the talks for the Treaty.”