Sunday 24 April 2016

Germany protests TTIP

Silence in all the usual places

Thousands rally in Hannover against TTIP trade deal a day before Obama’s visit

23 April, 2016

Thousands of protesters have come out onto the streets of Hannover to say 'No' to the controversial TTIP US-EU trade deal. Many in Germany fear it will reduce consumer protection and undermine workers’ protection.

While the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the US and Europe is set to create the world's largest free trade zone, many Europeans worry that the agreement would elevate corporate interest above national interest. TTIP opponents say that cheaper goods and services would only hurt the EU and help the US.

As Obama says all countries have to give up something for TTIP, 1000s marching in Germany say NO

People say the deal is going to compromise the European Union sovereignty, and would create much more secrecy, with one of the biggest concerns being that the agreement is wrapped in a big veil of secrecy that people are not happy with,” RT's Anastasia Churkina reported from Hannover.

John Hilary, the executive director of War on Want, an anti-poverty charity, told RT that large sections of the general public stand to lose out if TTIP is passed.

The official statistics say that at least 1 million people will lose their jobs as a direct result of TTIP. This is in the European Union, where 680,000 jobs will go, and in the USA.”

Hilary was also damning about how TTIP has been “pushed down people’s throats” by an unelected EU. He also mentioned that if the legislation is passed, it would give American companies alarming cross-border powers.

There will also be courts where US companies will get this power for the first time to sue our governments in Europe if at any time there is a new law or regulation introduced, which threatens their profits. This is an extraordinary threat to the rule of law and democracy and our chance to build a better future,” he said.

The US is Germany's biggest trading partner. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is set to discuss the TTIP deal with Obama when he visits a trade show in Hannover on Sunday and Monday.


"The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership is one of the best ways to promote growth and create jobs," the US president stressed in an interview with Bild.

Wrapping up a deal would be a "win-win situation," Angela Merkel announced in her weekly podcast, adding that "it is good for us as we will be able to appraise our competitors."

Hannover right now

In the best-case scenario, TTIP could cover over 40 percent of global GDP and account for large shares of world trade and foreign direct investment. 

Washington’s ambassador to Germany, Anthony L. Gardner, said in an exclusive interview with EurActiv in 2014 that “we need this deal to help solidify further the transatlantic alliance, to provide an economic equivalent to NATO and to set the rules of world trade before others do it for us.”

Thanks but no thanks, Mr ! We don't need no -tens of thousands say in Hannover:

Public support for the transatlantic trade deal has meanwhile been weak. According to a recent survey conducted by pollsters YouGov on behalf of the Bertelsmann Foundation, only 17 percent of Germans think the TTIP is a good thing, down from 55 percent two years ago. In the United States, only 18 percent of people now support the deal, compared to 53 percent in 2014.

Nearly half of US respondents complained about a lack of information, saying they did not know enough about the agreement to voice an opinion.

This is what Obomber and Killary are really about ...

Meanwhile EU-apologist, the Guardian, reports Killary Clinton

US presidential hopeful weighs in on forthcoming vote as No 10 welcomes latest backing ahead of 23 June referendum

Hillary Clinton has thrown her weight behind the campaign to keep Britain inside the European Union in a major new boost to David Cameron’s hopes of winning a Remain vote on 23 June.

After Barack Obama used his farewell trip to the UK as president to make the economic and security arguments for membership, Clinton, who is the favourite to win the Democratic nomination in July and become the first female US president, makes clear that if she enters the White House she will want the UK to be fully engaged, and leading the debate, within the EU.

In a statement to the Observer, her senior policy adviser, Jake Sullivan, said: “Hillary Clinton believes that transatlantic cooperation is essential, and that cooperation is strongest when Europe is united. She has always valued a strong United Kingdom in a strong EU. And she values a strong British voice in the EU.” Sources close to the former secretary of state’s campaign said she stood fully behind Obama’s opposition to Brexit, which the president said on Friday would not only undermine the international institutions, including the EU, that had bound nations closer together since 1945, but would also mean the UK being at “the back of the queue” when negotiating new trade deals.

Obama’s remarks drew angry responses from leading figures in the Leave campaign, including the mayor of London, Boris Johnson, who questioned the president’s right to intervene. Leading backers of Brexit also tried to dismiss Obama’s view as that of a “lame duck president” soon to be out of office.

The former Tory defence secretary Liam Fox, a Brexit enthusiast, said on Friday night that Obama’s opinions would be irrelevant after the US elections in November. “Whoever it is that will be at the helm of the United States won’t be Barack Obama,” Fox told BBC2’s Newsnight. “It will be the next president, and the next congress, who will be in charge of any trade arrangements.” But the Remain camp and No 10 sources said that such arguments had exploded in the faces of the Brexit camp.

The Conservative MP Damian Green, a board member of the Britain Stronger In Europe campaign and the chairman of European Mainstream, said: “This shows how misleading it is to say this is just the view of a president in his last days in office. It confirms that mainstream political opinion in the United States is in favour of Britain remaining in the EU, and that the transatlantic values that we share with the US are expressed most strongly in Europe by a fully engaged Britain.”

A No 10 source said: “Not only do you have the serving US president setting out why the UK is better off staying in the EU, but now those who aspire to be president too. Hillary Clinton worked with the UK as secretary of state for a number of years and saw first hand how the UK’s influence was magnified by the role we played in the EU. When you face a big decision in life, most people listen to their friends, and we disregard such advice at our peril.”

The Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump has not offered a view on whether he thinks the UK should stay in or leave the EU, although he has said he believes there is a good chance the British people will vote for Brexit, partly because of their unhappiness with levels of immigration.

The Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, a lifelong critic of American foreign policy, held talks with Obama during which the president congratulated him on being elected leader and the two touched briefly on Europe. Corbyn said they discussed “the challenges facing post-industrial societies and the power of global corporations and the increasing use of technology around the world and the effect that has”.

Earlier, addressing an audience of 500 people, many aged between 18 and 30, at a town hall-style event in central London, the president said that the UK’s role in the EU had helped secure peace on the continent.

The president said that “from the ashes of war” the UK and the US had formed institutions that had delivered “decades of relative peace and prosperity in Europe and that in turn have helped spread peace and prosperity around the world”.

Obama urged the young audience to reject isolationism and xenophobia. “I implore you to reject those calls and I’m here to ask you to reject the notions and take a longer and more optimistic view of history,” the president said.

Obama leaves the UK on Sunday for Germany, where he will attend Hanover’s industrial technology fair. He will then hold talks with David Cameron, the French president, François Hollande, German chancellor Angela Merkel, and Matteo Renzi, the Italian prime minister, during which they will discuss the next phase of the war against Islamic State and the unfolding chaos in Libya.

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