It should not come as a surprise (not to me at least, see below). The news from the last two days, although sometimes contradictory, mean that giving up on TTIP is acceptable to the political elites in Berlin, Paris, and ultimatey in Brussels.
First Sigmar Gabriel stating TTIP is dead in the water, Jean Claude Juncker’s spokesperson still assuring that the negociations are going on. Then François Hollande’s minister declaring they will officially ask to bury the whole thing, Angela Merkel and the US insisting this cannnot be…
Champagne for the anti-TTIP NGOs and civil society! (Filaos / CC-BY-SA 3.0)
Whatever will be said during the weeks to come, there’s no way back: once an end to the negotiations has been declared as a possible outcome, nothing can prevent this doomed project from going all the way down. This is different from the many critics asking for – not announcing! – the end of negociations. Different also from Social-democrats and Greens stating that TTIP “should be abandoned if …” This is: “We can drop it.” It will be dropped – and very soon, dropped like a hot potato.
I’m not surprised. I always told people I thought TTIP was basically a lost cause, since I learned that the expected economical benefits were officially deemed ridiculously low (remember, something like less than one percent of GDP growth over ten years). Of course, it was important to fight against it with all kinds of arguments. But basically, it was a flawed project insofar as the elites thought of selling it to the people as a project that would increase their welfare.
Why did the EU elites fail?
True, TTIP would have been economically beneficial to some sectors and some countries – and to most of those people the elites are having lunch with. But it was obvious that the big economical advantages for the average European – or American, for that – were simply not there. As for other arguments – strengthening the transatlantic bond – the elites were not prepared to fight for them. So, from the beginning, TTIP has been what it is now for everybody to see: a doomed project. Just one more little push, and all will agree and give up on it. Champagne!
Is this only good news? What does it mean for the future political course of the European Union? I’ll write that up for a woxx editorial and post it here when finished.
Some of my former woxx articles about TTIP:
From 2014, after a lecture by Raoul Marc Jennar:
Freihandel und TTIP: Der Waffenlieferant
Recently, on what a “good” TTIP would be:
Schiedsgerichte und Politik: Der iTTIP-Traum
Recently, strengths and weaknesses of the TTIP criticism:
Plattform gegen CETA und TTIP
: Bedrohlich, aber wahr