Corporate Europe Observatory

Exposing the power of corporate lobbying in the EU

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TTIP pillar already being used to torpedo public interest laws and democracy

Regulatory cooperation under the proposed EU-US trade deal (TTIP) will strengthen corporate lobbyists’ hand in attacking public interest legislation and curb the power of elected politicians according to a report released today.

Dangerous Regulatory Duet: How transatlantic regulatory cooperation under TTIP will allow bureaucrats and big business to attack the public interest” by Corporate Europe Observatory and LobbyControl challenges European Commission claims that the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) currently under negotiation will not result in lower standards and highlights examples that show how regulatory cooperation has already put corporations in the policymaking driving seat and undermined democratic decision-making.

TTIP’s regulatory cooperation chapter seeks to align existing and future EU and US standards, restricting the ability of elected representatives to introduce measures and standards in the public interest.

From curbing environmental protection rules, to helping financial conglomerates escape scrutiny; from sidestepping data privacy legislation, to delaying rules on animal testing, the case studies in the report show that lobbyists have made much use of regulatory cooperation to subvert public interest law-making and advance a transatlantic corporate agenda.

The examples highlighted to demonstrate how regulatory cooperation has already facilitated big business priorities over the public interest are:

  • The scaling back of EU ambition on dealing with dangerous waste from electronics;
  • Insurance giant AIG escaping supervision in the lead up to the financial crash;
  • US companies escaping accountability under the Safe Harbour agreement and sidestepping data protection rules;
  • Delayed legislation on animal testing, ozone depleting substances and aviation emissions.

Kenneth Haar, Corporate Europe Observatory:

“Regulatory cooperation is set to be at the heart of TTIP and will reinforce the means to roll back past and future achievements in environmental policies, consumers’ and workers’ rights. As the US Chamber of Commerce said, regulatory cooperation is “a gift that keeps on giving” but only to big business. This toolbox for corporate lobbyists is a direct threat to democratic principles and our environmental and social protections.”

Max Bank, LobbyControl:

“From the very beginning of transatlantic regulatory cooperation in 1995, the EU and the US have been hell-bent on including big business in decision making and ensuring policy reflects the priorities of corporate lobbyists. Given the evidence collected so far, it's clear that it facilitates big business exerting its influence often before a proposal is even presented to parliaments. The same corporate lobbyists who pushed for this are now leading efforts to enshrine such procedures into the policymaking rulebook via TTIP and thus endanger democracy.”

Lora Verheecke, Corporate Europe Observatory:

“While the EU and US authorities attempt to sell this as a technicality, we’re seeing regulatory cooperation become an increasingly controversial issue in the public debate around TTIP.  Concerns about this tool’s ability to drive down standards are well founded and are thus beginning to circulate widely. The solution is clear: this corporate agenda must be stopped with the scrapping of TTIP a much-needed first step.”

The report can be read here:

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