Manipulation and disinformation of the public by the creators of TTIP is slowly reaching the same level of shenanigans we saw in the Brexit campaign. With a mix of promises of salvation, threats of economic loss and defamation of all those who critique TTIP and CETA.
By Johannes Voggenhuber
In truth, TTIP has little to do with a “free trade zone” (i.e. removing tariff barriers to trade), very little indeed. There has long been only minimal duties between the US and the EU. The free trade zone already exists. These deals are just a misnomer designed to cover up the actual goals.
Lie Nr. 2: “Democracy is not eroded by TTIP.”
TTIP and CETA are about the systematic coordination of laws between the United States, Canada and Europe through a new, transatlantic, political regime under massive influence of industry and global corporations. This democratically illegitimate political regime has common “regulators” with formal veto powers over industry and with the non-public ability to defend, change or remove undesirable laws. They complete this process without reporting to parliaments or the democratic public.
Thus the citizens will gradually be removed from the innermost fundamental right of democracy: to be able to autonomously decide the key political, social and economic laws which ultimately dictate how they will live. TTIP is a direct attack on democracy.
Lie Nr. 3: “European legal principles will not be affected.”
In addition to the standardisation of laws, TTIP and CETA will also give special rights and acess to a unique judiciary system in order to protect investors. “Special rights” that no other interest group in society can access (incl. compensations for failed expected income through legal proceedings against elected democratic lawmakers and against the sovereign freedom of democratic societies).
There is now a whole mafia “industry” who, under the title “investment protection state” prevents progress in environmental, health and consumer protection. The basic principle of the law: equality before the law, will not apply for investors.
Lie Nr. 4: “European standards will not be lowered.”
It is suggested, only products which comply with this standard, would enter into the European market. This is untrue and a violation of citizens’ confidence in the general application of the law. US products that do not meet European standards come, nevertheless, freely into the European market. Even the labeling of such products is totally inadequate. The free and informed choice of the consumers will be deliberately suppressed.
Precarious employment, stagnating wages and the progressive reduction in social transfers would make economically weak sections of the population more and more dependent on substandard, industrial bulk food. The price pressure from mass products beyond European standards would lead to distortions of competition and thus to a massive pressure on existing environmental health and consumer protection rules. And that is also, in fact, the intention of the creators of TTIP.
Lie Nr. 5: “Our environmental policy will not change.”
In truth, the basic principle of European environmental and health policies, the “precautionary principle” would be converted to the “US-harm principle”. The burden of proof would be passed from the producer to the consumer. The legislature could intervene against harmful products only after damage already occurred or if harmful effects were scientifically proven. However, the detection of such a causal link is often not possible until decades after, resulting in the mass production of goods and their distribution around the world, despite the suspicion of their dangerousness.
Europe also has no liability and compensation law, which could mitigate the disastrous consequences of this harm principle. TTIP is a direct attack on the state’s duty to prevent risks to the environment and health and product safety.
Lie Nr. 6: “The criticism of the arbitration is now dispelled.”
In truth, central principles of general jurisdiction, which were achieved centuries ago (public procedures, right to a lawful judge, the right to appeal), will be abolished or limited through TTIP and CETA.
Now the US and Europe will establish fast-track procedures and arbitraion courts which were originally developed for countries without independent judicary systems. Of course the people will not have access to the same processes even when their environment, health, property or social rights will be harmed. The principle of equality before the law shall not apply to investors. TTIP is a direct attack on the rule of law and ordinary jurisdiction.
Fortunately, European civil society has long since awoken and the systematic defamation of criticism in politics and the media will no longer make them docile. Is there not yet enough trust lost in politics and media throughout Europe? Is there not yet enough power for a surge in the extreme political right wing? Is there still not enough anger in Europe?