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TTIP far from over despite massive Greenpeace document leak, European Commission says

Published 04/05/2016

Campaigners against the TTIP trade deal
Campaigners against the TTIP trade deal
Obama's trip to Europe has been seen as an effort to drum up support for TTIP before the end of his time in the White House AFP/Getty Images
Two women carry signs against the TTIP free trade agreement during a protest march against the upcoming G7 summit on June 4, 2015 in Munich, Germany. The leaders of the G7 nations are scheduled to meet at nearby Schloss Elmau June 7-8. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
Thousands of demonstrators protest against the planned Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership in Hannover (AP)
MUNICH, GERMANY - JUNE 04: People demonstrating against the upcoming G7 summit carrier a banner that decries the TTIP free trade agreement during a protest march on June 4, 2015 in Munich, Germany. The leaders of the G7 nations are scheduled to meet at nearby Schloss Elmau June 7-8. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
Protesters against the trade deal marching in London
MUNICH, GERMANY - JUNE 04: People wearing signs against the TTIP free trade agreement take a break during a protest march against the upcoming G7 summit on June 4, 2015 in Munich, Germany. The leaders of the G7 nations are scheduled to meet at nearby Schloss Elmau June 7-8. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

The Big Questions: is it true that a 248-page leak of the TTIP document could spell the end for the controversial trade deal?

Why are we asking this now?

Campaigners have said that the controversial Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership is in jeopardy after 248 pages of the document were leaked.

Greenpeace Netherlands, the charity behind the leak, says these documents make up two-thirds of the latest negotiating text, offering a glimpse at the contents of the deal that was previously kept behind closed doors.

John Hilary, the executive director of War on Want, told The Independent that now the leaked texts are available, those behind the negotiations have no where left to hide.

“The gloves are off, and they know they are in for a proper fight," he said.

Is it true the leak could spell the end for TTIP?

Not if the European Commission is anything to go by.

Cecilia Malmström, EU trade commissioner, said the headlines in response to the Greenpeace leak amount to a "storm in a teacup".

"In the past year, the European Commission has opened up the negotiations to make our positions on all matters in the negotiations public. After each negotiating round, we publish round reports as well as our position papers and textual proposals. So the positions of the EU are well-known and nothing new," Malmström said.

The European Commission has strived to make the TTIP negotiating process more transparent by publishing fact sheets for the many chapters of the deal.

What's causing the problem?

Reported have suggested that the leaked documents show the US and the EU have "irreconcilable" differences over issues including the animal testing of cosmetics, drug safety testing and the environment.

The European Commission said the "consolidated texts" that have been leaked do not show outcomes of the treaty - just the consolidated position of the two sides.

"It shouldn't come as a surprise that there are areas where the EU and the US have different views," Malmström said.

What will happen to TTIP next?

The leak comes as senior politicians around Europe have distanced themselves from the controversial trade deal.

President Francois Hollande announced this weekend that France will veto any TTIP agreement that could endanger the country’s agricultural sector.

Meanwhile Germany’s economy minister Sigmar Gabriel has also said that if TTIP collapses, US intransigence is the cause.

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What about the UK's position?

In the House of Commons on Wednesday, David Cameron accused opponents of TTIP of using the issue of the NHS as a red herring to stand against "a trade deal that could add tens of billions to our economy and generate jobs".

"There are plenty of reasons that people don’t want to see trade expanded, I think they should be honest about it and say they don’t like trade deals," David Cameron said.

Cameron has publicly stated his support for the deal.

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