Saturday

24th Jun 2017

EU-US trade deal not quite dead

  • Sigmar Gabriel faced criticism on Monday over his remarks that TTIP negotiations had "failed". (Photo: Reuters)

News of the death of the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or TTIP, have been largely exaggerated.

At least, that was the substance of EU reactions to the statements made by Germany’s vice-chancellor Sigmar Gabriel last Sunday (28 August).

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Gabriel, who is also the leader of Germany’s Social Democratic party, said that TTIP talks ”de facto have failed, even though nobody is really admitting it”.

But the EU chief TTIP negotiator Ignacio Garcia Bercero, on Monday, referred to Mark Twain to assure press that the free-trade talks are still alive.

"Remember what Mark Twain said," he noted, on the American writer's quip that reports of his death were "greatly exaggerated."

Another part of EU Commission also told journalists that Gabriel wasn't in charge of negotiatons.

”We are,” said spokesman Margaritis Schinas. He recalled that EU member states had unanimously renewed the Commission’s mandate to do so at a European Council in late June.

”The ball keeps rolling on TTIP”, Schinas said.

He said that the commission "stands ready to close the deal by the end of the year," adding however that it would not "sacrifice Europe’s safety, health, social and data protection standards or our cultural diversity on the altar of free trade."

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert, meanwhile, said there was “no disagreement” in the German government about the fact that the EU and the US must still bridge “several important questions”.

But it was right to continue talks, as ”quite often the decisive things only happen in the final round”, Seibert said.

A few EU politicians, although not that many, also threw their weight behind TTIP.

Sweden’s EU and trade minister Ann Linde - a fellow Social Democrat - said ”nothing” warranted such a statement such as Gabriel's.

Finland’s foreign trade minister Kai Mykkanen from the centre-right National Coalition Party also took Gabriel’s declaration with a pinch of salt.

”Chancellor Merkel and the rest of the EU leadership support TTIP, and negotiations continue,” he said.

Kerry to promote free-trade deal on EU tour

Secretary of state John Kerry will give speeches in the coming months to "help people to understand exactly the positive side" of the EU-US free trade talks.

France wants EU-US trade talks stopped

French trade minister called for "the pure, simple and definitive halt of these negotiations" because France was not backing them anymore.

Focus

EU and China move to fill US void

At a summit in Brussels, EU and Chinese leaders will attempt to deepen ties on trade and climate as US president Trump plans to pull out of the Paris climate deal.

Italy reaches EU deal on failing bank

After months of negotiations, the European Commission and Italy agreed on the terms of rescue for Monte dei Paschi di Siena bank, including job cuts, salary caps and private sector involvement in the bailout.

News in Brief

  1. Merkel and Macron hold symbolic joint press conference
  2. Juncker has 'no' clear idea of kind of Brexit UK wants
  3. Belgian PM calls May's proposal on EU citizens 'vague'
  4. UK lacks support of EU countries in UN vote
  5. Spain to command anti-smuggler Mediterranean force
  6. Estonia confirms opposition to Nord Stream 2 pipeline
  7. Ireland and Denmark outside EU military plan
  8. EU leaders renew vows to uphold Paris climate deal

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EPSUOn Public Services Day, Stop Austerity! Workers Need a Pay Rise!
  2. EGBAOnline Gambling: The EU Court Rejects Closed Licensing Regimes In Member States
  3. World VisionFaces of Today, Leaders of Tomorrow: Join the Debate on Violence Against Girls - 29 June
  4. ECR GroupThe EU Must Better Protect Industry from Unfair Competition
  5. Malta EU 2017Better Protection for Workers From Cancer-Causing Substances
  6. EPSUAfter 9 Years of Austerity Europe's Public Sector Workers Deserve a Pay Rise!
  7. Dialogue PlatformGlobalised Religions and the Dialogue Imperative. Join the Debate!
  8. UNICEFEU Trust Fund Contribution to UNICEF's Syria Crisis Response Reaches Nearly €200 Million
  9. EUSEW17Bringing Buildings Into the Circular Economy. Discuss at EU Sustainable Energy Week
  10. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceCan an Ideal Body Weight Lead to Premature Death?
  11. Malta EU 2017End of Roaming Charges: What Does It Entail?
  12. World VisionWorld Refugee Day, a Dark Reminder of the Reality of Children on the Move

Latest News

  1. Macron’s investment screening idea watered down by leaders
  2. Leaders unimpressed by May’s offer to EU citizens
  3. New Irish PM praises unscripted nature of EU summits
  4. EU extends sanctions on Russia
  5. UK's universities set 'Brexit wish list'
  6. Decision on post-Brexit home for EU agencies postponed
  7. May's offer on citizens’ rights dismissed as ‘pathetic’
  8. 'Historic' defence plan gets launch date at EU summit