The Unpopular Debate

The debate over the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership is sickening on many levels. Opponents see numerous threats.

For example, social, ecological and health standards that can be lowered just like the Americans have done with their overcooked chlorine chickens, which can be shipped directly from the U.S. to European plates. “Everything for the Americans!” claim opponents of the partnership. Supporters of the partnership defend it by saying, “that’s not true!” And the European Union commission? The commission is trying to calm things down by assuring people that public services will be explicitly taken out of the partnership. Otherwise, it is keeping its actions secretive.

Europe is missing its chance here: Trust in the European institution seems to be diminishing. People are missing an opportunity to encourage an open and transparent debate that is obviously important to European citizens. That makes it too easy for Europe’s critics to weaken not only the institution of Europe, but also the very idea of it. So far the debate over TTIP has been intense, but unions, NGOs and consumer protection associations have good reasons to oppose the partnership. So far it has fueled more fear than hope. It is better to meet this fear with openness than with secretiveness. At least if one takes them seriously.

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