A freshly-leaked chapter from the highly secretive Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement, currently under negotiation between the United States and European Union, reveals that the so-called “free trade” deal poses an even greater threat to environmental and human rights protections—and democracy itself—than previously known, civil society organizations warn.
The revelation comes on the heels of global protests against the mammoth deal over the weekend and coincides with the reconvening of negotiations between the parties on Monday in New York.
The European Commission’s latest proposed chapter (pdf) on “regulatory cooperation” was first leaked to Friends of the Earth and dates to the month of March. It follows previous leaks of the chapter, and experts say the most recent iteration is even worse.
“The Commission proposal introduces a system that puts every new environmental, health, and labor standard at European and member state level at risk. It creates a labyrinth of red tape for regulators, to be paid by the tax payer, that undermines their appetite to adopt legislation in the public interest,” said Paul de Clerck of Friends of the Earth Europe in a press statement released Monday.
Regulatory cooperation refers to the “harmonization of regulatory frameworks between the E.U. and the U.S. once the TTIP negotiations are done,” ostensibly to ensure such regulations do not pose barriers to trade, the Corporate Europe Observatory explained earlier this month.
However, analysts have repeatedly warned that, euphemisms aside, “cooperation,” in fact, allows corporate power to trample democratic protections, from labor to public health to climate regulations, while encouraging a race to the lowest possible standards.
The newest version of the regulatory cooperation chapter reveals that the European Commission is angling to impose even more barriers to regulations.