Thursday

6th Aug 2020

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).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

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.

News in Brief

  1. EU offers help to Lebanon after port explosion
  2. Next US envoy to Germany outed on xenophobia
  3. Belgium sees spike in coronavirus infections
  4. Doctors: virus second wave arrives in Germany
  5. Lukashenko: Russia planned 'massacre' in Minsk
  6. Nearly half of Germans happy to see US soldiers go
  7. Poland hails 'crowning glory' of US troop relocation
  8. Germany sends troops to enforce Libya arms embargo

EU forecasts deeper recession, amid recovery funds row

The economies of France, Italy and Spain will contract more then 10-percent this year, according to the latest forecast by the EU executive, as it urges member state governments to strike a deal on the budget and recovery package.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDANext generation Europe should be green and circular
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNEW REPORT: Eight in ten people are concerned about climate change
  3. UNESDAHow reducing sugar and calories in soft drinks makes the healthier choice the easy choice
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersGreen energy to power Nordic start after Covid-19
  5. European Sustainable Energy WeekThis year’s EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) will be held digitally!
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic states are fighting to protect gender equality during corona crisis

Latest News

  1. Why EU beats US on green pandemic recovery
  2. Azerbaijan ambassador to EU shared anti-George Floyd post
  3. Polish party roars back at EU on LGBTI fines
  4. EU: Hong Kong election delay undermines democracy
  5. Why hydrogen is no magic solution for EU Green Deal
  6. EU mishandling corona-travel, Belgian expert says
  7. France wants rule-of-law sanctions on recovery budget
  8. The three 'Elephants in the Room' in EU-India relations

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us