TTIP transparency 'farce' as Germany opens MP reading room

31 January 2016 - 9:15am
Press release

German MPs will be granted restricted access to documents from secret EU-US trade negotiations as of 1 February, with the opening of a Berlin reading room for consolidated texts of the controversial Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

Access to the documents will only be possible under supervision in the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs, with all use of cameras or mobile phones prohibited and only limited note-taking allowed. Germany's Minister for Economic Affairs, Sigmar Gabriel, has confirmed that any MP caught breaking the rules will face disciplinary proceedings. 

John Hilary, Executive Director of War on Want, said: "It is laughable to suggest that TTIP negotiations are in any sense transparent or legitimate. MPs are expressly forbidden from sharing any information with the general public, despite the fact that it is our rights that are being traded away behind closed doors. TTIP makes a mockery of democracy, and no amount of government propaganda can hide that. The farce goes on."

Even the official German government video launching the reading room acknowledges the irony of allowing the media to take photographs of a room where all cameras will be banned from now on.

The video includes views of the reading room with a photographic guide to the key elements in it, reproduced below.

Starting in the top left corner and moving clockwise, the signs translate as follows: Lockers (for mobile phones etc) - Reference library (reference works) - Work stations (maximum 8 people) - Digital documents (negotiating language: English) - Supervisor (official of Ministry for Economic Affairs) - Computer (not networked) - Confidentiality agreement (must be signed before use).

NOTES TO EDITORS

War on Want's new report, Rough Trade: The threat of TTIP to small businesses in the UK, is available here.

John Hilary is available for interview or comment on +44 7983 550727.

Latest news

G4S sells Israeli business but should ‘leave Israeli market entirely’

2 December 2016 - 11:30am

G4S has long profited from Israeli violations of Palestinian rights, its decision to sell its Israeli business shows that boycott and divestment campaigns work. However, G4S remains complicit in human rights abuses through its ownership and investment in the Israeli police academy. If G4S is concerned about human rights, it must now leave the Israeli market entirely, just as Veolia, Orange, and CRH have done.

Read more

Evening Standard:G4S sells off Israeli prisons arm after pressure groups’ protest

2 December 2016 - 11:30am

War on Want in Evening StandardWar on Want’s Ryvka Barnard said G4S remains complicit in human rights abuses through its ownership of and investment in the facility.  “If G4S was concerned about human rights, it would leave the Israeli market completely,” she added

Read more

Join the conversation

Wallonia's Paul Magnette joins with academics to issue the #CETA 'Namur Declaration' https://t.co/31YXCjdJGOhttps://t.co/rgIAvDayNE 6 hours 6 min ago
Useful resource to understand impact of Israel's siege on #Gaza. The UK is complicit in the siege until it decides… https://t.co/gy1mL8RdVy 1 day 17 hours ago
British security company @G4SPlc sells its Israeli branch after an intensive 5 year long #BDS campaign against it: https://t.co/TdSYeD722B 3 days 3 hours ago