Does the Greenpeace document leak spell the end for TTIP?

The Big Questions: The EU trade commissioner says the headlines in response to the 248-page leak are a 'storm in a teacup'

Hazel Sheffield
Thursday 05 May 2016 11:27
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Protesters wear masks of U.S. President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel as they demonstrate against Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) free trade agreement before the opening ceremony of the Hannover Messe in Hanover, Germany April 24, 2016
Protesters wear masks of U.S. President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel as they demonstrate against Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) free trade agreement before the opening ceremony of the Hannover Messe in Hanover, Germany April 24, 2016

Why are we asking this now?

Campaigners have said that the controversial Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership is in jeopardy after 248 pages of the document were leaked.

Greenpeace Netherlands, the charity behind the leak, says these documents make up two-thirds of the latest negotiating text, offering a glimpse at the contents of the deal that was previously kept behind closed doors.

John Hilary, the executive director of War on Want, told The Independent that now the leaked texts are available, those behind the negotiations have no where left to hide.

“The gloves are off, and they know they are in for a proper fight," he said.

Is it true the leak could spell the end for TTIP?

Not if the European Commission is anything to go by.

Cecilia Malmström, EU trade commissioner, said the headlines in response to the Greenpeace leak amount to a "storm in a teacup".

"In the past year, the European Commission has opened up the negotiations to make our positions on all matters in the negotiations public. After each negotiating round, we publish round reports as well as our position papers and textual proposals. So the positions of the EU are well-known and nothing new," Malmström said.

The European Commission has strived to make the TTIP negotiating process more transparent by publishing fact sheets for the many chapters of the deal.

What's causing the problem?

Reported have suggested that the leaked documents show the US and the EU have "irreconcilable" differences over issues including the animal testing of cosmetics, drug safety testing and the environment.

The European Commission said the "consolidated texts" that have been leaked do not show outcomes of the treaty - just the consolidated position of the two sides.

"It shouldn't come as a surprise that there are areas where the EU and the US have different views," Malmström said.

Belgium: Anti-TTIP protesters rally in Brussels

What will happen to TTIP next?

The leak comes as senior politicians around Europe have distanced themselves from the controversial trade deal.

President Francois Hollande announced this weekend that France will veto any TTIP agreement that could endanger the country’s agricultural sector.

Meanwhile Germany’s economy minister Sigmar Gabriel has also said that if TTIP collapses, US intransigence is the cause.

What about the UK's position?

In the House of Commons on Wednesday, David Cameron accused opponents of TTIP of using the issue of the NHS as a red herring to stand against "a trade deal that could add tens of billions to our economy and generate jobs".

"There are plenty of reasons that people don’t want to see trade expanded, I think they should be honest about it and say they don’t like trade deals," David Cameron said. Cameron has publicly stated his support for the deal.

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