Published by: Corporate Europe Observatory, Friends of the Earth Europe, LobbyControl, WeMove.EU, September 2016
Rachel Tansey contributed to researching the nominations for the awards. You can cast your vote at http://www.democracyforsale.eu
The ongoing negotiations of the EU-US trade agreement, known as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), are happening behind closed doors, hand in hand with big business lobby groups. Their influence is so great that their collaboration with TTIP negotiators deserves closer scrutiny. Our contribution: to give the most successful business group an award!
The aim of TTIP is to address barriers to trade that arise from differences in regulation. For example, differences in setting standards, or legal frameworks for technical regulations. TTIP also seeks to expand so-called ‘investment protection’: the dreaded corporate courts (‘ISDS’ or similar) that handle complaints from big companies, over government decisions that dent their expected profits. Regardless of whether those democratic decisions serve to protect people and planet.
A growing civil society movement is deeply concerned that TTIP will lower standards for consumer protection, undermine health and environmental policies, and transfer even more political power to corporations.
The drive to make the US and EU rulebooks more similar – through so-called ‘regulatory cooperation’ – is feared to mean a race to the bottom, reducing regulatory obligations to the lowest standards found on either side of the Atlantic.
The far greater access and influence of corporate lobby groups compared to the public, adds to the concerns that TTIP will promote the commercial interests of multinationals rather than the general interest of citizens.
The Democracy For Sale awards are not merely about lobbying on TTIP – they’re about the collusion between big business and the European Commission over the trade deal. These awards are about exposing the hidden powers co-writing TTIP.