Greece's new Syriza government will try to sink a controversial trade deal with the United States that has been slammed as a corporate handout by critics, according to reports Monday.
“I can ensure you that a parliament where Syriza holds the majority will never ratify the deal. And this will be a big gift not only to the Greek people but to all the European people,” former Greek European parliament member Georgios Katrougkalos said in an interview with Euractiv.
Katrougkalos is now set to take up a deputy ministerial position in Greece's new Syriza led parliament.
Katrougkalos said the government in Athens will try to veto the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) when it comes up for a vote in the European parliament, arguing the deal has been negotiated behind closed doors, and will mostly only benefit large corporate interests.
“An undemocratic practice of lack of transparency has prevailed from the very beginning of the negotiations,” he stated.
The TTIP is a proposed free trade deal between the E.U. and United States. Negotiations began in 2013, but have hit headwinds since a draft of the agreement was leaked to the public in 2014. Critics warned the draft suggested consumer protections such as food safety standards would be slashed, while corporations would be empowered by lower trade restrictions and new rules that would tip litigation against governments in favor of big business.
The European Greens Party has labeled the deal a “grave” threat to the E.U.
“It would have wide ranging and in many aspects irreversible impacts on our daily lives, in particular on our health, food, labor, product safety, environment, social standards as well as privacy standards,” the Greens have warned.
Supporters have hit back at critics by arguing the deal would streamline trade between Europe and the United States, and say the TTIP will complement the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
According to Katrougkalos, despite some reductions in “bureaucratic procedures on exports,” most of the TTIP is aimed at gutting European consumer protections to bring them in line with lower U.S. standards.
“For example we don’t permit GMOs, data protection is significantly more important as well as the protection of national health systems,” he said.