German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday that Berlin was still aiming to reach a political framework for a comprehensive trade deal between the European Union and the United States by the end of this year.
In a speech to parliament, Merkel said that Germany would reap enormous economic benefits from the so-called Transatlantic trade and investment partnership (TTIP).
Merkel added that an EU summit next week would not tackle Britain’s wishes for EU reform, but she would ask European Council President Donald Tusk to examine the issue.
Her intervention comes just a week after the TTIP legislation, described as a “corporate stitch-up” by critics, was held up by a massive protest from left-wing European parliamentarians, combined with Eurosceptic support.
Yesterday, UKIP’s Nigel Farage launched his party’s latest document, claiming that Britain would do far better outside of the European Union in terms of trade.
Mr Farage took the time to mention TTIP, claiming that he has never in 17 years in the European Parliament had so much correspondence on one issue in such a short period of time.
Meanwhile, big American corporations have been paying for sponsored content to appear on European web sites such as Politico.
General Electric sponsored an article that read: “Is US-EU trade being overlooked as both sides look to opportunities in emerging economies?” and went on to claim that, “the prospects for a successful conclusion of TTIP negotiations may benefit from the fact that for the moment Washington is distracted by its sexier Pacific cousin [the Trans Pacific Partnership].
Fears loom large about the TPP and TTIP deals, which may give undue corporate influence and access to British, European and American regulatory decisions to big multinational firms. There are also concerns that corporates could sue governments for law changes that affect their businesses, and that the National Health Service may be open to vast, American-style privatisation as a result of more ‘open’ markets.
Reuters contributed to this report