Austria joins calls to stop TTIP trade deal with US
Austrian politicians have added their voice to calls to halt negotiations between the EU and the US on the free trade deal known as TTIP.
Austria's ruling coalition parties are united in their opposition to the free trade deal with the US, with Finance Minister Reinhold Mitterlehner saying the negotiations should be stopped and the process started again.
“Only the greatest optimists expect that [TTIP] can be completed this year,” Mitterlehner told APA news agency.
It follows comments from Germany’s vice-chancellor indicating the controversial negotiations over the free trade deal are effectively dead in the water. France minister for foreign trade Matthias Fekl has also called this week for the negotiations to cease.
There has been a lot of opposition to the deal in Austria, with critics saying it would have an impact on food standards, arguing that the EU has much stricter regulations on GM crops, pesticide use and food additives than the US.
In 2015 EU's trade commissioner Cecilia Malmström who is taking the lead in the trade talks said that nowhere else in Europe is TTIP more hotly debated than in Austria, but argued that “TTIP will be good for the people of Austria.”
A similar deal being negotiated with Canada is equally controversial with Chancellor Christian Kern saying yesterday he is ready to confront other EU countries to oppose the deal.
Kern told the ORF the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) under discussion with Canada contains much of the same problems as the American deal.
"This will be difficult, this will be the next conflict in the EU that Austria will trigger... We must focus on making sure... we don't shift the power balance in favor of global enterprises," Kern said.
It comes as more than 125,000 Germans file the largest citizen lawsuit in German history against the proposed CETA deal, which critics say will create “a new legal system” in Europe.