France is blaming the attitude of the U.S. for a likely breakdown in talks on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) deal, a day after the European Commission dismissed leaked details of the agreement as a “storm in a teacup”.
The outlook for a successful conclusion to TTIP negotiations looks increasingly bad after France’s Foreign Trade Minister, Matthias Fekl, today told Europe 1 Radio the current version is too friendly to U.S. business. Describing talks as “totally blocked” he said “the approach being taken by the United States” means a halt to further talks “is the most probable option.”
Mr. Fekl suggested the problem is shared across the European Union (EU), alleging that “Europe is giving a lot” but in return “receiving very little.” However, it seems his real issues may be more nationalistic as he explained that “in its current state, France cannot sign it.”
A possible collapse of TTIP brought about by narrow French concerns about farming and the environment deals a blow to those pro-EU Remain campaigners who cite the politico-trading bloc’s alleged ability to negotiate intercontinental trade deals as a reason for membership.
As Breitbart London yesterday reported, reaction to the recent publication by Greenpeace of 248 leaked pages relating to secretive negotiations represents the first point in which left and right wing activists have come together over trade, the EU, and anti-corporatism.
Even before the leak the whole process of negotiating the TTIP deal had been severely criticised for both a lack of transparency and the power it could put in the hands of international corporations. For many the documents published by Greenpeace confirmed those fears.
In her blog written in response to that leak, the EU’s Trade Commissioner, Cecilia Malmström, claimed many of yesterday’s “alarmist” headlines were just “a storm in a teacup.” Neverthless, it now appears that negotiators’ attempts to reach finalise a deal before President Obama leaves office in January look increasingly forlorn.
Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.