Sunday

25th Sep 2016

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).

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.

Investigation

Diesel cars still dirty, despite huge EU loans

The European Investment Bank lent billions to carmakers, in part to clean up diesel cars. But diesel cars are still dirty, prompting questions if the money was well spent.

EU redoubles attack on roaming charges

After an embarrassing U-turn last week, the EU commission has proposed to abolish roaming charges by June next year. Only "abusive" clients to pay.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. GoogleBringing Education to Refugees in Lebanon With the Clooney Foundation for Justice
  2. HuaweiAn Industry-leading ICT Solution Provider and Building a Better World
  3. World VisionUN Refugees Meeting a Wasted Opportunity to Improve the Lives of Millions of Children
  4. Belgrade Security ForumCan Democracy Survive Global Disorder?
  5. YouthProAktivEntrepreneurship, Proactivity, Innovation - Turn Ideas Into Action #IPS2016
  6. GoogleTrimming the Waste-Line: Weaving Circular Economy Principles Into Our Operations
  7. Crowdsourcing Week EuropeDon't Miss the Mega Conference to Master Crowdsourcing, Crowdfunding and Innovation! 10% Discount Code CSWEU16
  8. Martens CentreFighting Terrorism: Do we have what it takes? 26 September, Brussels
  9. ACCAKaras Report on Access to Finance for SMEs in a Capital Markets Union
  10. Centre Maurits Coppieters"I still believe we can change Europe" Said David Grosclaude
  11. World VisionThe Child Protection Index to be Launched in Brussels on 28 September 2016
  12. HuaweiDigital Transformation: Unleashing Europe’s Potential