The TTIP of the spear

IT IS becoming hard to remember a time when Europe was not in crisis. The European Union doused the Greek fire (though the embers still glow) only to be confronted with flows of refugees it could not manage. Relations with Russia, already gravely wounded by the invasion of Ukraine, are now further complicated by the Kremlin’s deployment in Syria. And Britain’s long-dormant “renegotiation” of the terms of its EU membership is about to blow up into a high-stakes affair that could end in Brexit (see our special report).


Next to this house of horrors, striking a trade deal should have been easy. So Europe’s leaders thought when they gave the European Commission a mandate to negotiate the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with America in 2013. The EU could do with a jolt of growth, and America is a natural partner; there should have been no rows about cheap goods undermining European workers. Yet TTIP has run into a wall of opposition. Polls show majorities oppose it in several countries. Local authorities across Europe have (meaninglessly) declared themselves “TTIP-free zones”. On October 10th at least 150,000 Germans marched in Berlin to register their disapproval.


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