According to the research, "In the United States [today], opinion is split, with 15 percent in favour [of TTIP] and 18 percent against." In 2014, 53 percent of Americans were in favour, and 20 percent were against TTIP. In Germany today, "33 percent have a negative opinion of TTIP, with only 17 percent considering it a good thing." Two years ago, 55 percent of Germans were in favour, with 25 percent against.
There are no comparable figures for the UK, but they probably wouldn't be as good: the almost total lack of media coverage on TTIP and CETA might make cynics suspect a conspiracy, and many people in the UK have never heard of it. If asked, they would probably say they were in favour of a trade deal with the US - indeed, some surveys carried out for the European Commission ask precisely that question, and get generally favourable answers. That's not surprising, since the problem is not so much with US trade deals in general as TTIP in particular: when people find out exactly what is in TTIP they are generally pretty appalled at what is being done in their name.
Given the reluctance of mainstream media to provide objective information - if any - there's not much we can do other than post to social media. One other thing we Europeans can all do is to contact our politicians expressing our concerns, and asking them some questions about their knowledge and support or otherwise for TTIP.
Linda Kaucher, the main organiser of the Stop TTIP movement in the UK, has put together a useful sample letter for UK citizens to send to their MPs to do precisely that. It could easily be modified for other EU countries. Ideally, you could take the letter and edit it to make it more personal, but the most important thing is to send it to your political representatives so that they appreciate the strength of public opinion on the topic of TTIP and CETA. Here's the letter:
I have these concerns and questions about the EU so-called ‘trade’ agreements and I would appreciate a response at your earliest convenience.
The US/EU TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) is of huge public concern as it is clearly for the benefit of transnational corporations while it threatens our health and safety standards, our public services (despite attempted ‘reassurances’), and our democracy and sovereignty.
Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) and the Trade Commission’s latest version of this, Investment Court System (ICS) will give rights to transnational and foreign corporations to sue EU governments, thus threatening regulation in the EU and in the UK. The planned Regulatory Cooperation Body, by any name, will be supranational, assessing all regulation, existing and future, on criteria of ‘trade’ rather than social values, with big business input from both sides of the Atlantic from the earliest stages.
Of immediate concern is the EU/Canada CETA (Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement). It has many of the same components as TTIP and is in some aspects even worse eg 100% negative listing of services. It is very much a ‘back door’ for TTIP, both as a model for such deals and in allowing US corporations to utilise ISDS (ICS) against EU governments, including our own, via their Canadian subsidiaries.
Supposed economic ‘gains‘ for both TTIP and CETA , even according to the official studies, have been exposed as minimal and it is indicative that the European Commission no longer refers to them – so, no ‘jobs and growth‘ after all.
These trade agreements should be blocked and the UK government can do this in the European Council. Will you urge the Cameron government to do this?
In addition to these concerns about these agreements, I have these questions and requests about process:
It appears from the UK parliamentary procedures that the UK has denied itself any veto with regard to trade deals, even though other member state parliaments have this power. Is this the case, and if so will you initiate action to change this?
The problem remains that our MPs still have no access to key TTIP documents, whereas members of other EU parliaments do. Will you ask a parliamentary question on why UK MPs still have no access to key TTIP documents?
In the CETA text we have no UK protection for Geographical Indicators (regional food names), whereas other member states do. Will you ask a PQ on why the UK government has failed to seek any GI protection in CETA and call on the UK government to block the completed CETA agreement on this basis?
Even if CETA and TTIP are 'mixed deals’ they would be ‘provisionally implemented’ by the Commission, with ISDS obligations legally in force from that point, before any parliamentary discussion here and there are no procedures to reverse this. This procedure, particularly combined with a lack of UK veto, makes the UK ratification process irrelevant. Will you call on the UK government to block TTIP and CETA in the EU Council, for this additional reason?
There is no analysis of the 1600 page CETA text, as a basis for either the European Parliament or the UK parliament to ratify this agreement. It should therefore not be ratified. Will you call for CETA to be blocked in the Council for this reason also?
I look forward to your response