Sunday, 14 June 2015

As TPA Trips Along in U.S., TTIP Vote Stalls in European Parliament

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As the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) package continues its bull-in-a-china-shop tear through the U.S. Congress, the path to passage of a related measure in the European Union — Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) — has run into a parliamentary roadblock.

On the evening of June 9, a critical vote on the TTIP was postponed one day after supporters of the measure sensed that the opposition was strong enough to scuttle the agreement.

Officially, however, President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz blamed the delay on the need to consider the 200 or more complicated amendments tacked on to the resolution.

In Europe, activists fighting to defeat the proposal claimed victory and pointed to their zealous grassroots efforts as the real reason for the postponement.

A press released issued by the UK Independence Party (UKIP) gave credit for the “chaos” in the EU Parliament to their leader, Nigel Farage:

Today Nigel Farage, MEP and leader of UKIP, said: "In my 17 years as an MEP I've never received so much communication from the public on a proposed piece of legislation. The TTIP has concerned millions of people across the European Union. They have bombarded their MEPs with phone calls, letters and emails and in response to this the EU is now running scared."

"They've got the wind up, particularly the left, who have been supporting TTIP from the start and finally have been exposed as backing large scale global corporatism."

"The parliament suspended today not just the vote, but equally the debate on this issue which I think was cowardly in the extreme. It is interesting to note that for the first time ever actions in the European Parliament are now being heavily debated in Washington, too. Perhaps we need a redefinition of what a free trade deal is.”

On the other end of the political spectrum, Global Justice Now pointed to the more than “two million signatures” collected a recent petition against the TTIP as one reason for the reprieve. Furthermore, they reported political in-fighting among advocates as the source of the stall.

"However it wasn’t just the number of amendments that led to the decision to postpone the plenary vote, as some sources have suggested; there have also been deep divisions amongst the MEPs, especially in the Socialists and Democrats group, regarding TTIP and ISDS [Investor State Dispute Settlement]. It seemed like it was impossible to form a united block, or maybe there was enough discordance that those who were pro-TTIP, and specifically pro-ISDS, were concerned that the plenary vote would not turn out to their liking," the group announced in a press statement.

There is no doubt among constitutionalists in America and friends of liberty and economic freedom on both sides of the Atlantic that the TTIP is not to any right thinking person’s liking.

In an article on June 5, The New American’s senior editor William F. Jasper laid out a detailed constitutional approach to rejecting TTIP, TPA, and their equally evil cousin, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Speaking specifically of the TTIP, Jasper writes:

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) proposes to begin “deep and comprehensive” integration between the 28 member states of the European Union and the United States. Over the course of the past several years, we have published many articles detailing the dangers posed by these (still officially secret) agreements. We are bringing together here, in abbreviated form, 10 of those reasons why every American — whether identifying as Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Independent, Tea Party, liberal, conservative, or constitutionalist — should oppose both of these proposals.

Jasper goes on to list ten reasons to oppose the TTP and TTIP.

It is that word “integration,” though that should evoke the greatest resistance from Americans and Europeans who understand our common legacy of individual liberty and the trouble that is caused by political consolidation.

Again, Jasper’s analysis is noteworthy:

The TPP/TTIP architects are drawing from the “success” of the European Union. In the development of the European Union — from its origin as the European Coal and Steel Community to the Common Market to the European Community to, finally, the EU — this subversive mutational process has been referred to as “broadening and deepening.” Broadening (or “widening”) refers to the constant expansion through addition of new member-states; deepening refers to the constant creation of new supranational institutional structures and continuous expansion and usurpation by regional authorities of powers and jurisdiction that previously were exercised by national, state, and local governments. The “living,” “evolving” treaties and agreements of the EU have eviscerated the national sovereignty of the EU member-states and increasingly subjugated them to unaccountable rulers in Brussels under the rubric of “integration,” “harmonization,” “an ever closer union,” “convergence,” “pooled sovereignty,” “interdependence,” and “comprehensive cooperation.”

Next, consider this threshold question: If the TTP and the TTIP were so good for America, why would the architects insist that the negotiations be carried on clandestinely? Why such closely guarded secrecy for something that is ostensibly so advantageous for America? There is no answer.

Jasper explains:

The Obama administration has audaciously claimed that the TPP and TTIP processes are “completely transparent,” and President Obama has publicly claimed to be peeved by charges (false charges, he says) that there is any secrecy involved. But the president is talking utter nonsense, if facts mean anything. It is a fact that after more than three years of (secret) negotiations, the administration still has not made the draft texts of either of the agreements available to the public.

That’s not the president’s only lie, however.

In a press conference attended by this reporter in December 2013, it was admitted that in the official document outlining the deal, the Obama administration makes clear that an agreement will not be chiefly focused on matters related to international trade, but rather “behind-the-border” (read: domestic) policies such as health, environmental, and monetary policy. As with so many of the other panoply of recent trade deals, multinational corporations operating within the United States and the EU are achieving quasi-governmental power and using that authority to limit the ability of U.S. and EU courts to enforce domestic laws, particularly those that the corporate interests deem detrimental to their bottom line.

If the representatives of the American people pass the TPA, the TPP, and the TTIP,  and if the globalist and corporate interests here and in Europe successfully overcome the current obstacles to adoption of the agreements, then the integration of the United States with regional blocs in the Pacific and Atlantic will rush headlong toward completion and the ultimate surrender of sovereignty will ride up rapidly on its heels.


Related article:

10 Reasons Why You Should Oppose TPP and TTIP


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