European policy conference bringing together Civil Society organisations, negotiators and decision makers
Date: 15-16 June 2015
The planned free trade agreements between the EU and the US and Canada, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), have stirred heated debates among civil society organisations, which question whether these agreements can achieve their stated aims whilst protecting health. TTIP supporters and negotiators continue to reassure civil society that TTIP would not affect the member states’ sovereign right to regulate and would not lower European public health, agricultural or food safety standards. However, there are legitimate concerns about risks for standard setting and maintenance in the fields of sustainable food, agriculture, health systems, safe labour and animal welfare. Mistrust prevails towards the final outcome of the agreements, since negotiations have taken place behind closed doors and only with civil society pressure have small positive steps towards more transparency been made. Proposed instruments such as regulatory cooperation or the Investor-to-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) threaten to undermine the right to regulate and the democratic development of legislation.