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

The European Commission wanted to deny democracy. They lost. We won.

25 May 2017 - 11:30am

The rejection of a petition signed by more than 3 million people across Europe against toxic trade deals was an outrageous decision by the European Commission. Now the European Court of Justice agrees.

Read more

We’re winning in the fight against corporate courts and toxic trade deals

24 May 2017 - 11:30am

In recent weeks two EU court rulings and a decision taken by Ecuador to scrap its investment treaties have dealt a heavy blow to secretly negotiated, corporate trade deals. The events have proved a major boost to social movements resisting these toxic deals in the UK and around the world, as part of a wider fight for trade justice and democracy.

Read more

Join the conversation

Happening now: At @colombianembuk, in support of striking communities in #Buenaventura, Colombia #WeAreBuenaventurahttps://t.co/19Zlvsf9cn 4 hours 50 min ago
More than 3 million people will not be denied! https://t.co/vugtY36mKn #tradejustice #TTIP #CETA #StopCETA #Brexit https://t.co/l5HicBc8zH 9 hours 39 min ago