The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is being heralded by the EU and pro-EU groups as proof that Britain is better off inside the EU. However, the whole process is shrouded in secrecy and based on stories coming from Brussels this agreement has the potential to be a huge threat to UK consumers, UK business and the NHS – and while we remain in the EU, there’s nothing we can do about it.
MEPs from many parties are starting to see the damage this agreement may cause. Demonstrations are held regularly across Europe. Few have been held in the UK, although I did take part in a “Keep the NHS Out of TTIP” protest in Woking a couple of months ago and there was also one in Egham.
One of the main areas of concern is the Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanism, and the EU Commission have come under pressure to improve this proposal to make it more transparent, however the reforms recently proposed have been described as
“little more than putting lipstick on a particularly unpopular pig.”
In this recent article, criticism of ISDS and the proposed replacement investment court system (ICS) come from many angles;
Jude Kirton-Darling, Labour’s European Parliament spokesperson on TTIP said, “… but if the ICS is merely ISDS-lite, it is clearly not something we will be happy with.”
Ska Keller, of the Greens/EFA grouping, argued that changes to the mechanism were superficial.
European Public Health Alliance (EPHA), Secretary General, Nina Renshaw, commented, “Largely semantic changes from arbitration to Tribunal will not convince us to support a fundamentally biased system with a long track record of being used and abused – most frequently by the tobacco industry – to abort public health policies.”
And of course UKIPs MEPs are the only ones from the UK who have consistently voted against TTIP and all its subsidiary parts in the European Parliament.
A European citizens’ initiative (ECI) organised by Stop TTIP has received greater support than any previous ECI in history. Over 3 million people in 23 member states signed the petition in protest against the trade agreement.
If you’re not aware of what TTIP is or could do then I suggest you search on-line and read some of the stories that outline the concerns about this particular piece of EU legislation. The Stop TTIP website is a good resource and also the following links;