“No TTIP through the backdoor!”: Civil Society Warns Against Risky Concessions in EU-US Trade Talks

Slow Food Europe, along with more than 100 civil society organizations, denounces the European Commission’s statements on EU-US trade talks. In the joint letter, organizations urge the Commission not to succumb to the Trump’s administration pressure and not to make risky concessions, jeopardizing promises of the European Green Deal.

EU Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan has spurred a strong reaction from civil society groups many of which campaigned against the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Confronted with US demands to change EU rules on pesticide residues in food, chemical treatment of poultry (‘chlorinated chickens’), and GMO’s, the Commissioner said he will now seek solutions to such ‘regulatory barriers’.

A joint statement signed by more than 100 organizations from across Europe express concerns about this development that bodes ill for measures taken to protect standards, public health, and the environment. Furthermore, organizations warn the Commission of challenging its own “European Green Deal”, including in areas such as pesticides.

“During the TTIP debate the European Commission tried to reassure European citizens they would not sell out on health and environment. Now it seems the Trump administration is successful with its threats to impose higher tariffs on cars. Unfortunately, the Commission shows no interest in keeping their word and guaranteeing transparency. We need politicians and governments to put their foot down and stop this development,” says Marta Messa, member of Slow Food International Councilor and director of the European office in Brussels.

The joint statement is a call to member state governments, parliamentarians at the national level and members of the European Parliament to make the Commission retract its conciliatory statements to the US Administration. Slow Food Europe along with other signatories demands a guarantee that no concessions will be made that would weaken food standards and environmental protection.

The groups point out to the European Commission that the existing mandates for the negotiations leave no leeway for any discussions on standards related to food and agriculture. In addition to this, it is the belief of the 100+ civil society groups that the European Commission is entering into territory where they will meet little if any understanding in European societies, as they write in their statement: “EU citizens’ commitment to the precautionary approach was strongly confirmed during the public debate on TTIP – a trade agreement that would not have survived a democratic vote within the EU had it included concessions on the scale now demanded by the US.”

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