Last week, Greenpeace published some 248 pages of leaked TTIP documents. According to the NGO, the documents show secrecy of the talks and efforts to lower EU standards, reportedly under the pressure of multinationals. Although the headlines were sensational, many experts pointed out that in fact nothing new was shown. On the contrary, the leak may have strengthened EU´s position. The documents dated to March 2016 (but some significantly older) show big differences between the EU and the US on environmental standards, animal testing of cosmetics or drug safety testing. According to the EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem, this reflects the situation on the opposing sides of the Atlantic. It is only natural that both sides reflect their positions in the negotiations. The point of the talks is to find the middle ground if possible. If not possible, the point is likely to be dropped. Also, the EU position on the issue is known, because the EC published its mandate and its negotiating positions. It also regularly publishes summaries from negotiating rounds so that anyone is able to follow the talks. Moreover, since the documents show disagreements between the two sides, they in fact prove that the EC is not moving away from EU standards in sensitive areas – as some NGOs point out. On the contrary, it proves the EC upholds EU standards. Interestingly then, if the leak was meant to reveal some secrets and unmask the EC´s secret intention to use TTIP to undermine EU standards, it did exactly the opposite – it proved the EC does what it says publicly that it does, that is defending EU´s interests and standards.
2nd May 2018