Open let­ter to Ger­man Chan­cellor Dr. Angela Merkel

Appeal   to   stop   nego­tia­ti­ons   on   the   Trans­at­lan­tic   Trade   and   Invest­ment   Part­nership   (TTIP)

Dear Chan­cellor Dr. Angela Merkel,

On Febru­ary 13, 2013, the US-American pre­si­dent and rep­re­sen­ta­ti­ves of the Euro­pean Union announ­ced their intent to nego­tiate a Trans­at­lan­tic Trade and Invest­ment Part­nership (TTIP) bet­ween the U.S. and the EU (also known as the Trans-Atlantic Free Trade Agree­ment / TAFTA). With TTIP it is plan­ned not only to remove tariffs (which, inci­den­tally, are not par­ti­cu­larly high), but, above all, to eli­mi­nate non-tariff trade bar­ri­ers by ali­gning the dif­fe­rent U.S. and the EU stan­dards. These TTIP regu­latory efforts would irre­vo­ca­bly change the foun­da­tion of our society and its future development.

Poli­ti­ci­ans as well as busi­ness lea­ders on both sides of the Atlan­tic are vigo­rously pur­suing the TTIP. Nego­tia­ti­ons are taking place behind clo­sed doors and obviously under extreme time pres­sure. The treaty should be com­ple­ted as early as 2015. We citi­zens are left out. All of this con­tra­dicts our under­stan­ding of a demo­cra­tic society.

The U.S. jour­na­list, Lori Wal­lach, com­men­ted on the pro­ject in Le Monde Diplo­ma­ti­que on Novem­ber 8, 2013 as fol­lows: “This Trans­at­lan­tic Trade and invest­ment Agree­ment (TTIP) intends to – simi­lar to its pre­de­ces­sor MAI [Mul­ti­la­te­ral Agree­ment on Invest­ment] – secure and broa­den the pri­vi­le­ges of cor­po­ra­ti­ons and inves­tors. The US and the EU seek to align their respec­tive stan­dards in non-trade sec­tors. These “har­mo­ni­sa­tion” attempts serve, as expec­ted, the inte­rests of cor­po­ra­ti­ons and inves­tors. If stan­dards are not ful­fil­led, inde­fi­nite trade sanc­tions or gigan­tic com­pen­sa­tion pay­ments can be imposed.”The English jour­na­list George Mon­biot wrote in the Guar­dian on Novem­ber 4, 2013 that “this trans­at­lan­tic trade deal is a full-frontal assault on demo­cracy” and of a treaty “that would let rapa­cious com­pa­nies sub­vert our laws, rights and natio­nal sovereignty.”

The above-mentioned news­pa­per arti­cles as well as tele­vi­sion broad­casts (inclu­ding Report Mün­chen, Moni­tor) report on the pro­blems of such an investor-state dis­pute sett­le­ment (ISDS), illus­tra­ting these with con­crete exam­ples. In addi­tion, the media also demons­tra­tes other hazards of the TTIP such as: lower­ing of Euro­pean con­su­mer pro­tec­tion and health stan­dards; thre­ats to agri­cul­tu­ral, orga­nic far­ming; openings for agro-biotechnology (agro-GMO); reduc­tion of social stan­dards as well as cli­mate and environ­men­tal pro­tec­tion requi­re­ments; new waves of pri­va­ti­sa­tion in areas of basic public ser­vices and fur­ther dere­gu­la­tion of the finan­cial sector.

The Euro­pean Com­mis­sion has respon­ded to the legi­ti­mate con­cerns and fears of citi­zens and their loss of con­fi­dence in public policy making with tar­ge­ted com­mu­ni­ca­tion stra­te­gies (Mana­ging Trans­pa­rency, Lea­ked Euro­pean Com­mis­sion PR stra­tegy). Nevert­he­l­ess, so far 714,809 citi­zens have taken part in online peti­ti­ons in oppo­si­tion to TTIP in Ger­many. On May 22, 2014, these signa­tures were pre­sen­ted to the top can­di­da­tes for the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment by the action alli­ance ttip-unfairhandelbar. Nume­rous orga­ni­sa­ti­ons (NGOs) on both sides of the Atlan­tic have made simi­lar anti-TTIP appeals to deci­sion makers.

From expe­ri­ence with pre­vious free trade agree­ments and libe­ra­li­sa­tion, as well as from what has been lea­ked to the public con­cerning the cur­rent TTIP nego­tia­ti­ons, we have also come to a nega­tive eva­lua­tion of the TTIP bet­ween the U.S. and the EU. We object to the aim of regu­latory har­mo­ni­sa­tion that threa­tens cur­rent Euro­pean environ­men­tal and health stan­dards as well as the plan­ned investor-state dis­pute sett­le­ment. It is unac­cep­ta­ble that, in investor-state dis­pute sett­le­ments, for­eign inves­tors may sue nati­ons and govern­ments for high com­pen­sa­tion pay­ments if laws reduce their pro­fit expec­ta­ti­ons. This influ­ence on legis­la­tion would be incom­pa­ti­ble with prin­ci­ples of the rule of law and it is immoral.

Dear Madame Chan­cellor, we are the­re­fore appealing to you to take a dif­fe­rent poli­ti­cal course, and to use your con­side­ra­ble influ­ence to stop the TTIP negotiations.

Rather than the TTIP and its risks and dan­gers to the com­mon good we need a dif­fe­rent ori­en­ta­tion of policy. We are stan­ding at the cross­roads in many areas of society. As an alter­na­tive to TTIP, it is essen­tial to launch import­ant future-oriented pro­jects for a sus­tainable and via­ble society. Due to our responsi­bi­lity as phy­si­ci­ans and sci­en­tists, and as fathers and mothers, we the­re­fore request:

* the crea­tion of a social frame­work for responsi­ble environ­men­tal resource manage­ment and its poli­ti­cal implementation,

* a con­sis­tent policy of GMO-free agriculture,

* increa­sed sup­port for orga­nic far­ming and orga­nic far­ming rese­arch; the cur­rent mini­mal fun­ding of orga­nic far­ming is eco­lo­gi­cally harm­ful and irre­sponsi­ble towards future generations,

* fur­ther deve­lop­ment and imple­men­ta­tion of the pre­cau­tio­nary prin­ciple and impro­ve­ments of appro­priate stan­dards for the reduc­tion of health hazards cau­sed by unhe­althy food and environ­men­tal pollution,

* that in mat­ters rela­ting to risk assess­ment and stan­dar­di­sa­tion of pro­ducts and pro­ces­ses, import­ant environ­men­tal and health com­mit­tees are made up of sci­en­tists inde­pen­dent of indus­try; the pro­mo­tion of industry-independent rese­arch in these areas,

* pri­vacy policy and digi­tal huma­nism rather than a sur­veil­lance state,

* sover­eignty in cul­tu­ral policy and its promotion,

* mea­su­res pro­mo­ting a just society: the reduc­tion of poverty among child­ren and the elderly as well as the – bet­ween childhood and old age poverty – con­ti­nuously gro­wing working poverty; preven­tion of tax eva­sion; regu­la­tion of the finan­cial sec­tor; public accoun­ta­bi­lity and responsi­bi­lity for key areas of public ser­vices – health, edu­ca­tion, water, hou­sing, mobi­lity, etc.

In our stri­ving to achieve a sus­tainable and via­ble society, we appeal to you to stop the secret TTIP negotiations.

Dear Madame Chan­cellor, our Con­sti­tu­tion calls on you to prevent harm to the Ger­man people: We appeal to you to do this for us, our child­ren and grandchildren.

 

Prof. Dr. Dr. Karl-Frank Kal­ten­born (Initia­tor),
Mar­burg,  keinttip@staff.uni-marburg.de

Prof.  Dr. Monika Krü­ger, Leip­zig, mkrueger@vetmed.uni-leipzig.de

Dr. Mar­tha Mer­tens, Mün­chen, mertens@biodiv.de

PD  Dr. Johan­nes Maria Becker, Mar­burg, becker1@staff.uni-marburg.de

Web­site: http://kritik-freihandelsabkommen.de/

 

 

Trans­la­tion: Sep­tem­ber 11, 2014.