What I Didn't Read in the TTIP Reading Room by Katya Kipping

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What I Didn't Read in the TTIP Reading Roomby Katya Kipping, Feb 7, 2016 http://www.waronwant.org/media/what-i-didn%E2%80%99t-read-ttip-reading-room Katja Kipping was one of the first German MPs to gain access to the new TTIP reading room opened in Berlin this week, and she has written up a report of her experience. We thought it was well worth translating from the original, ‘The Opposite of Transparency’. TTIP, the EU-US free trade deal, has secrecy written all over it. Those responsible for it live in dread of any public scrutiny. If it was up to me, I would give everyone who’s interested the chance to make up their own minds on the text of the agreement in its current form. Sigmar Gabriel, Minister for Economic Affairs and a top cheerleader for TTIP, has now set up a reading room in his ministry where since the beginning of February German MPs can each spend two hours looking at those texts on which consensus has already been reached. A political friend of mine asked me the day before whether she could come with me into the reading room. I had to say no. After a long, tough struggle with the government, at least MPs are able to read the text, but they are the only ones. We are not even allowed to take security-cleared specialists with us into the reading room. As for members of the public, who will ultimately have to bear the brunt of TTIP, they are to have no access whatsoever to the secret text. Not what transparency looks like in my book! Access ‘granted’ Even the registration procedure for the reading room speaks volumes. Once I’d registered, I was sent the instructions on how to use the room. The first thing that I noticed was that the terms and conditions had already been the subject of negotiations between the European Commission and the USA. Get your head round that: TTIP isn’t even signed yet, and already individual countries have lost the right to decide who gets to read the texts, and on what terms.

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