MEPs must protect public from EU-US trade deal threat

Published 3 Mar 2015

Breast Cancer UK has joined with 375 civil society organisations from across Europe to call on the European Parliament to protect the public health of its citizens, workers and the environment as it drafts its opinion on the controversial TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) talks.

In an open letter sent to MEPs today,  trade unions, consumer, environmental, health and civil rights organisations, from over 20 countries, warn that TTIP could constrain democratic decision-making by strengthening the influence of big business and undermining public services, the protection of public health, the environment, food and workers’ rights.

Lynn Ladbrook, Chief Executive of Breast Cancer UK  said: “TTIP is a potentially very serious threat to regulations that are designed to protect many aspects of human health and the environment – from watering down food safety standards to rolling back regulations in the chemicals sector.”

"Of specific concern to Breast Cancer UK is the impact TTIP could have on chemicals regulation.  The EU’s current approach to chemicals regulation and the utilization of the precautionary principle has meant that we have some of the toughest chemicals regulation in the world and as a result have reletively better protections in place for the environment, our natural wildlife, provide healthier food and safer consumer products.  The proposals for convergence under TTIP would see a watering down of this approach.    MEPs must take robust measures to reject the dangerous provisions in TTIP, such as giving corporations vast new powers to sue governments in corporate biased tribunals."

The call comes as European Parliament committees are discussing a draft resolution on the TTIP negotiations to be voted upon in May. It will not be legally binding on negotiators, but will be a significant political signal as any final TTIP deal would have to pass a vote in the European Parliament.

Key demands in the open letter to MEPs include the rejection of so-called investor-state dispute settlement and a regulatory cooperation council in TTIP, as well as a call to oppose the lowering of standards and for the publication of all negotiation texts.

Resistance against TTIP has grown rapidly across Europe in recent months. More than 1.5 million people have signed a self-organised European Citizens’ Initiative calling on EU decision-makers to stop the TTIP negotiations and to not ratify the EU-Canada trade deal CETA.

Read full article on Corporate Europe Observatory

Read Breast Cancer UK's submission to the Environmental Audit Select Committee Enquiry on TTIP (pdf)

Read open letter to MEPs (English) (pdf)

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