TTIP: take responsibility





About us getting disadvantaged by our own government and the EU, which should be there to stand up and take responsibility for our safety and well-being.

Responsibility; [ri-spon-suh-bil-i-tee]; noun, plural: responsibilities. 1. the state or fact of being responsible, answerable, or accountable for something within one's power, control, or management. Fortunately, it is a word of which it is quite unnecessary to provide the definition, assuming everybody knows its meaning. Nevertheless, economic benefits can still cause malpractices to happen. Even sadder is that the specific malpractices I am writing about, are not even the responsibility of companies or individuals. We are getting disadvantaged by our own government and the European Union, which should be there to stand up and take responsibility for our safety and well-being. Now I can hear you thinking, what is this all about? The answer is TTIP, a trade agreement between the European Union and the United States.

On the website of the government of the Netherlands, the following is written: The European Union (EU) and the United States (US) are currently negotiating a trade agreement known as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Dutch consumers and businesses stand to gain from this deal. This sounds promising, fair and responsible and thus not problematically at all. Unfortunately, this is not the case. In the agreement it is stated that food and products checked in Europe do not have to be checked in the United States and vice-versa. One should consider the fact that in Europe the requirements for the quality and safety of foods are rather strict, leading to a very high standard. In the US, this is not always the case. The agreement called TTIP makes it possible for the US to transport their food and products that are until now not being sold in European supermarkets to Europe. As a result, in the future you might just buy a chlorine-cleaned chicken at your local super market, threatening your well-being. Now as a Dutch citizen, I ask myself the following question: How can an agreement like this come to be?

Firstly, the political steps made are kept secret on the international level. The European Union has forbidden the publication of the agreement so strictly, that even national politicians have to travel all the way to Brussels to a special reading room where the texts can be viewed under tight security. To stop this secrecy, WikiLeaks has even promised a reward for the person who will share the contents of TTIP. How dark is the particular matter, if the EU does not even trust their own politicians?

Also on the national level, the policy used to accept this agreement is far from fair. According to a research in 2014, only 18 percent of the Dutch people had objections against a partnership between the EU and the US. One should note that this partnership was not further explained, so no the results were purely there to act in a quasi-responsible way. Fortunately, the protest is growing. This year, already 43 percent of the Dutch citizens are against TTIP and even more important: 61 percent of the Dutch citizens with knowledge on TTIP are against the agreement. The reason for this rather slowly upcoming opposition might just be the fact that in order to accomplish their own economic goals, the EU and also specifically the Dutch government are not transparent enough.

Now let us get back to the definition of responsibility, as stated in the introduction. One can only be responsible within its one’s power, control, or management. Since the Dutch government and the European Union do not let us citizens choose, they take the responsibility and therefore they should come up with a better alternative than this highly controversial TTIP.

 

 

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Sources:

[1] Responsibility (definition): http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/responsibility

[2] TTIP – a trade agreement between the European Union and the United States: https://www.government.nl/topics/ttip

[3] VPRO thamadossiers – Bang of blij met TTIP: http://www.vpro.nl/themadossiers/ttip.html

[4] Lang Leve Europa! – Tagarchief: ISDS: http://langleveeuropa.nl/tag/isds/

[5] EU doubles down on TTIP secrecy as public resistance grows: http://arstechnica.co.uk/tech-policy/2015/08/eu-doubles-down-on-ttip-secrecy-as-public-resistance-grows/

[6] Wikileaks looft belonging uit voor tekst handelsverdrag TTP: http://www.nu.nl/buitenland/4104489/wikileaks-looft-beloning-tekst-handelsverdrag-ttip.html

[7] Zondag met Lubach – fragment: http://www.npo.nl/zondag-met-lubach/04-10-2015/VPWON_1243304/POMS_VPRO_2183978

[8] TTIP image: http://barnhard.nl/tag/ttip/