Protestors in cities all over Europe are gathering today to protest about the Translatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP); a “secretive” deal between the EU and the US.
Demonstrations have been organised in fifteen locations across the UK including London, Bristol, Edinburgh and Bognor Regis to voice opposition to the deal.
Those against it say it could lead to the privatisation of the NHS and the removal of food safety regulations to allow GM crops and chlorine washed chicken.
The European Commission has attempted to quash opposition to TTIP particularly in the UK by ruling out the involvement of public services in the deal.
However, the UK Trade Minister Lord Livingston has admitted to the Huffington Post that talks about the NHS were still on the table.
Another major concern is the provisions under discussion to enable foreign investors – for example American firms investing in the EU – to sue a host government in some circumstances if they are hit by a change in policy.
The campaign against TTIP has also found support outside its usual audience.
The controversial ACTA (Counter-terrorism legislation) regulation, which was booted out of the European Parliament by MEPs after millions campaigned against it, is also said to be shoe-horned into the agreement.
The original plans of internet providers monitoring customers’ online activity and other breaches of an individual’s privacy – the core elements of ACTA – may well find themselves in TTIP.
This attempt to get legislation onto the statute books via another means is by no means unheard of in Brussels with the unpopular European Constitution repackaged as ‘The Lisbon Treaty’ after No votes in the French and Dutch referendums in 2005.
But with MEPs more under the spot light than ever and a European Commission candidate already rejected for her portfolio, campaigners hope they can repeat the success of ACTA and get TTIP kicked into touch.