by Friederike Rehn
The more citizens know about TTIP and CETA, the less they want them – that’s the essence of the European Commission’s latest poll. Within the first year of our campaign, support for the ongoing negotiations has fallen in 24 out of the 28 EU member states, by 5% on average; while rejection increased by 7%. Keeping up our efforts to inform the public can thus make 2016 the year when a clear majority of Europeans finally turns against these trade agreements.
For the third time in a row since autumn 2014, the EU’s Eurobarometer survey asked people across Europe whether they were for or against an ‘EU-US free trade agreement’ – meaning TTIP. While in the autumn 2014 Standard Eurobarometer 58% of the people polled were in support of the trade deal, by November 2015 this support had fallen to 53%. This result is encouraging and better still, the percentage of people who replied “don’t know” decreased from 17% in 2014 to 15% in autumn 2015. Opposition to TTIP, on the other hand, increased from 25% in autumn 2014 to 32% a year later.
In four EU countries, the majority of the population is now against the EU-US free trade agreement. In Austria and Germany more than half the population is opposed – in Austria it’s no less than a total of 70%, in Germany a total of 59%. Slovenia is new to the list. Here, the majority of the population now also opposes TTIP (in spring 2015 this was not yet the case). In Luxembourg, 47% of the population is against it.
Overall, support for TTIP has fallen in a total of 24 member states. In the Netherlands, support decreased by 10% compared to spring 2015. In Hungary, support also fell by 10%, while the Czech Republic even saw a 13% decrease. Support remained on the same level in only two countries, and increased in only two member states, which is also a positive sign. As a comparison: The spring 2015 poll recorded increasing support for TTIP in 9 member states. This trend is now clearly reversed.
These results are also useful feedback for Stop TTIP activists: After a long and exhausting year of signature gathering and impressive protest, countries such as Germany and Austria now have a majority that rejects TTIP. Support for TTIP in Austria even decreased further still, from 39% in autumn 2014, to 22% in autumn 2015. The Netherlands saw a 10% decrease in support for TTIP within only a few months and might become one of the next countries where majorities will switch. Lobbyists working for the trade agreements should brace themselves.
Here you can find the latest edition of the Eurobarometer survey in English, German and French.