domenica, Novembre 28

TTIP: What do we know about? To what do we object? L’Indro met Michalis Masourakis, Chief Economist of Hellenic Federation of Enterprises

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Athens – European public opinion in the various member states reacts very differently to the project of the Transatlantic trade and investment partnership (TTIP). While trade has been an exclusively European competence since the Treaty of Rome in 1957, the impact of trade agreements on employment and growth sparks debate in Europe, just as it does in the United States.

The TTIP project concerns European standards and thus, by extension, the European way of life, it requires a debate that is at once technical and political. It is heavily criticized for being “non-transparent” whit a considerable percentage of the Europeans not trusting the way the negotiations are held.

Some days ago, an open discussion organised by Vouliwatch, a digital platform that allow Greek citizens to communicate with representatives in the Greek and the European Parliament (MPs & MEPs) accountable,  and the Press Project, a news site was held in Athens. Representatives of the Greek government, deputes and trade experts spoke on the matter. Georgios Stathakis, Minister of Economy, Development and Tourism, made clear which the main objections of the Greek government versus the TTIP are. First of all, the government is in a favour only of a mixed agreement, which has to be ratified by the state members as well. Secondly, the judiciary institution must be permanent. Thirdly, the member-states must be allowed to legislate taking into consideration its citizens’ best interests.

During the discussion, many controversial opinions where expressed effects suggesting that the possible effects of the TTIP should be carefully examined and since the stakes are major especially for the European side. Strongly opposed to the TTIP, Irini Kareta, Project Manager & Volunteer’s Coordinator of Fair Trade Hellas, characterised the treaty “a threat for democracy according to the civil society”,  choosing to speak with numbers. “Across Europe there is a petition of 3.6000.120 votes against the TTIP. 44.000 votes are raised from Greece. In the EU 1000 toxic substances are forbidden while in the USA only 8. We judge the TTIP as a threat against the international trade and the food safety. If the Treaty will be signed, the competition will be unfair as in the United States and will have fewer jobs. Ms Kareta also referred to the fact that in Greece there is not an ongoing research concerning the TTIP effects, suggesting that one at least should be conducted.

“L’Indro” met Michalis Masourakis, Chief Economist of Hellenic Federation of Enterprises, who answered to our questions.


In case of TTIP ratification, what will be the benefits for Europe?

The TTIP is an attempt to raise the barriers in the field of commerce. Tariff barriers are not very high, but if we manage to overcome the regulatory interventions existing in both sides of the Atlantic, global trade will be freer. Big size enterprises are always able to overcome such difficulties, which is not the case for small and medium size enterprises. A homogenization of trade rules will help these enterprises.

What will be the benefits for Greece given the fact that we have a lot of small and medium size enterprises?

Everything depends on an enterprise’s extroversion.  I think that the TTIP will have no negative effects on the country and its enterprises.

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