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4/26/15

Europeans Fight U.S. Trade Deal With Fear of McHospitals, Fracking Under Eiffel Tower (and they should)-by Leo Cendrowicz

It will afflict Europe with American abominations on an almost Biblical scale: cheap and dirty food, toxic waste, mind-numbing movies and television, gas-guzzling cars, all while scrapping healthcare and erasing labour rights.

That, at least, is how angry European activists are painting a planned trade deal between the European Union and the United States. A legion of horrors has been evoked about an agreement known as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or TTIP, which is currently under negotiation.

Dozens of groups have sprung up to oppose the planned pact, like Stop TTIP (whose website describes the deal as “a corporate coup that will put power and money into the hands of corporations and away from the elected government.”) and No TTIP (“TTIP would lock in the privatization of our public services, erode government protection for people and the environment and threaten a new round of unjust economic reforms forced on the poor”).

U.S. and E.U. officials are currently in New York this week for their ninth round of talks to hammer out the details of deal. But on Sunday, tens of thousands of protesters marched through the streets of Berlin, Brussels, Vienna, Madrid, Helsinki, Warsaw, Prague and other cities in simultaneous colorful demonstrations against TTIP.

Europe’s anti-TTIP campaigners characterize the plans as a diabolical plot to allow the likes of McDonalds to take over hospitals, Exxon to frack under the Eiffel Tower, and Google to take over parliaments. “It’s the most contested acronym in Europe,” admits Cecilia Malmström, the E.U. trade commissioner, who is in charge of the European side of the negotiations.

Work on TTIP will continue for the moment. Planned for over a decade before its formal launch in 2013, the negotiations are expected to last at least another two years. But the real test will come when the ratification process begins in European and American legislatures – some 898 amendments have so far been proposed in the European Parliament’s TTIP wish list.

 If anger continues to swell, it could dilute TTIP or derail it completely. If that happens, TTIP’s many opponents would celebrate. Whether their interests would be served by the trade pact’s demise is another matter. But even TTIP’s supporters accept that in its current form, the agreement has become a lightning rod for almost every European discontent.

Read more: Europeans Fight U.S. Trade Deal With Fear of McHospitals, Fracking Under Eiffel Tower - The Daily Beast

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