Bundestag president calls TTIP undemocratic

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Bundestag president calls TTIP undemocratic
Norbert Lammert. Photo: DPA

The President (speaker) of the Bundestag, Norbert Lammert, has threatened to vote against the US-EU TTIP free trade agreement when it comes to a vote before the German parliament, saying that the deal lacks transparency and democratic legitimacy.


Lammert, who belongs to Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU), said that he considers it "out of the question that the Bundestag would ratify a trade agreement between the USA and EU, the realization of which it was neither involved in nor had influence over proposing alternatives.“

TTIP is a proposed free-trade agreement between the EU and USA which Brussels and Washington have been wrangling over for two years.

But throughout the process, campaigners and activists have sharply criticized the negotiations, saying that they have shut out the concerns of consumer and environmental protection activists in particular.

One of the biggest bones of contention is the plan to include so-called "Investor-State Dispute Resolution" (ISDS) in the agreement, allowing multinational companies to bypass ordinary courts to challenge government actions that might impact their profits.

MPs can only read documents at US embassy

Lammert agreed with with European Comission President Jean-Claude Juncker that all the relevant documentation, especially the results of the negotiating process "must be available to the governments and parliaments of all members of the EU."

He said he "will insist on that," as currently German MPs can only see key TTIP negotiation documents by going personally to the US Embassy in Berlin.

The system is "completely unworthy of discussion - for the government and for parliament" Lammert said, backing up critical comments by Social Democratic Party (SPD) leader Sigmar Gabriel.

Earlier in October at least 150,000 people turned out for a protest in Berlin against TTIP.

Many demonstrators expressed fears that the treaty would secure the rights of multinational firms to sue governments in international courts.



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