Populism the main stumbling block to TTIP as negotiations enter 14th round – Hayes
EU and US should complete TTIP deal by the end of this year
Brian Hayes MEP today said that the main stumbling block in an agreement on TTIP is the populist positions that many political figures against a deal. Mr. Hayes urged EU and US negotiators to speed up progress and work towards an agreement by the end of the year. The two sides meet in Brussels this week for the 14th round of negotiations.
“We have seen with the result of the UK referendum the damaging effects of populist politics. I hope this gives us a wakeup call in Europe and we can now push ahead with the real jobs and growth agenda. Finding an agreement on TTIP is a key part of Europe’s future growth agenda.
“We should not let populists take a hold of TTIP like they did with the Brexit debate. We need to look at the facts and figures and it is clear that the economic benefits for Ireland and the EU are enormous from a potential deal. A recent EU study says Ireland will gain 1.4% in GDP from the deal.
“EU and US negotiators should speed up their talks and find an agreement before the end of this year. The longer this is allowed to linger on, the more chance that populists will have to hijack any deal.
“There are still serious issues on the table and a lot of technical work is needed. In all these negotiations, nothing is agreed until everything is agreed. The key point on the EU side is that we do not lower our standards in favour of US standards – that point is vital in terms of food safety and regulatory standards. We have been assured by EU negotiators that our standards will not be eroded. I want to be clear that this is a red line that we must not cross.
“Populists continuously produce scare tactics that our standards will be eroded but the EU is never going to sign up to a deal that would for example, change our rules in favour of US hormone treated beef. This will simply not happen.
“I do agree that there is a serious need for a real and open public debate on TTIP. This will be the biggest bilateral trade deal ever and it is clearly going to have a big impact on people’s lives. I firmly believe the potential benefits are huge for Ireland but it is of course right and proper that we engage with citizens and provide forums for real debate.”