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TTIP talks are 'likely to stop', say officials, as François Hollande signals France will reject deal

'At this stage [of the talks] France says 'No',' Hollande told a group of politicians, potentially bringing about the end of the deal

Published 03/05/2016

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
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)
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)

Talks over the hugely controversial TTIP agreement are “likely to stop” according to officials.

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership could be about to fail because of the huge disagreements between the US and the EU – many of which were revealed in a Greenpeace leak over the weekend – according to the French President and other senior politicians with the power to end the talks.

After those leaks, campaigners said it was unlikely the deal would be able to survive. Now senior politicians have said that the deal is likely to collapse and that they refuse to accept the deal as it stands.

French President François Hollande has said that his country is unable to accept the deal at the moment because of the rules that it enforces on France and the rest of Europe.

“We will never accept questioning essential principles for our agriculture, our culture and for the reciprocity of access to public [procurement] markets,” Hollande as saying at a meeting of left-wing politicians in Paris. “At this stage [of the talks] France says ‘No.'”

And the French foreign trade minister, Matthias Fekl, has said that it is likely that the deal is going to break down and talks be suspended. Mr Fekl had already said that France would bring a halt to the talks if no progress was achieved before September – but he has now said that is the most likely option, as disagreements continue.

Mr Hollande’s opposition comes amid a very weak position in public polls and ahead of a presidential election next year. Public opinion of the TTIP deal has been plunging in recent months and so it will likely serve as a way of winning around voters who remain suspicious about the agreement.

Supporters of the deal argue that it gives useful help to business by harmonising the regulations that govern partnerships between the US and the EU. But campaigners against it argue that the partnership gives too much power to corporations and that it could have disastrous affects for consumer rights.

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The comments came just days after Greenpeace leaked hundreds of pages of documents about the talks, showing the discussions had run into “irreconcilable” differences. The US and EU are locked in arguments about the ranging powers over European law that the deal would hand over to US companies.

Protesters against the trade deal marching in London
Protesters against the trade deal marching in London

Mr Fekl said those problems were likely to lead the deal to break down, "in view of the United States' state of mind today". He said that the deal as it is today “would be a bad deal” and that it could “unravel” the climate change agreement that was agreed in Paris and signed last month.

If France walked out of the deal, talks on the agreement between Europe and the US would almost certainly come to an end since it must be approved by each of the 28 countries in the EU. "It cannot be agreed without France and even less so against France," Mr Fekl said.

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