The lecture delivered by Joaquín Roy, Director of European Union Centre of Excellence of the University of Miami, on the Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the EU and the US awoke our interest in an issue we, European citizens, know very little about. Many people and groups across Europe are blaming the EU for negotiating trade and investment policies undemocratically, and in the interest of large corporations. But, what is TTIP?
It is a trade agreement that is presently being negotiated between the European Union and the United States, and that aims at removing trade barriers in a wide range of economic sectors to make it easier to buy and sell goods and services between the EU and the US. The European Commission underlines the benefits for all citizens, claiming that it will boost the economy, create new jobs in Europe, and make products much cheaper. However, TTIP negotiations are provoking strong opposition for fear of the consequences of corporate power: privatization of public services and weakening of environmental standards and workers’ rights, among others. An alliance of social movements, trade unions and community organizations collected one million signatures to present a European Citizens’ Initiative and stop the deal. In September, the Commission rejected the proposal and therefore, the protests and demonstrations will continue.