Leap into the dark

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The EU and US are secretly negotiating a trade deal, (TTIP), allowing for procurement of our public services by transnational companies which could irreversibly affect all our lives.

Well, in 2012/13 the European Trade Department was lobbied by 298/stakeholders, 269 from the private sector and ‘for every encounter with trade union or consumer group there were 20 with companies and industry federations some of which were further invited to secret discussions’, (Corporate Europe Conservatory 8.7.14).

Furthermore, in a 2016 report The Futures the CBI says: “The Prime Minister’s renegotiation was a step forward in ensuring the EU works better for British business.”

Well, what about the people and what does this say about democracy in the EU?

For many, one of their main concerns was the impact of mass immigration on communities and services but have those renegotiations changed anything?

Not according to Guy Verhofstad, (Leader of the Liberal Group in Europe), who said: “Changes to free movement of labour will be strongly resisted by other EU countries and the European Parliament but it should be possible for real agreement over reforms to our social security rules.”

However, he went on to say: “There has to be Treaty change but this has been ruled out because Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande won’t consider it before 2017.” In this case, after the referendum!

So, there are no reforms after all, only proposals which, according to Verhofstadt, can be taken off the table later.

Tellingly, he also said: “Many in continental Europe strongly agree that the EU of today is not fit for purpose.”

So where does it go from here? As it affects us all, maybe we should be told.

A vote to remain in the EU appears a frightening leap into the dark.

Mary Steele

Deerlands Avenue, Parson Cross