TTIP deal: business lobbyists dominate talks at expense of trade unions and NGOs

Published on The, by PAUL GALLAGHER, 27 Aug 2015.

European Commission officials have held hundreds of meetings with lobbyists to discuss the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) treaty – yet only around one in ten is with public interest groups.

The world’s biggest companies in finance, technology, pharma, tobacco and telecoms are dominating discussions with the EU executive body’s trade department responsible for the proposed EU-US free trade treaty, which could become the biggest such deal ever made.

Between January 2012 and February 2014, as TTIP discussions began, the Commission’s trade department (DG Trade) had 597 behind-closed-door meetings with lobbyists to discuss the negotiations, according to internal Commission files obtained by research group Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO).

There were 528 meetings (88 per cent) with business lobbyists while only 53 (9 per cent) were with groups such as trade unions and NGOs. The remainder were with other parties such as public institutions and academics … //

… Ms Scott Cato described the experience earlier this year comparing it to “a scene from a James Bond film”.

She said: “I don’t feel what I was granted access to contained the important details. Key information seems to have been retracted; there was little of interest. But what I did see did not leave me with any sense of reassurance, either that the process of negotiating this trade deal is democratic, or that the negotiators are operating on behalf of citizens. It reconfirmed that this is a corporate discussion, not a democratic one.”

(full text).

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