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European election looms large over US free trade deal


European election looms large over US free trade deal

The US and EU are holding a firth round of talks in Arlington Virginia this week aimed at striking a transatlantic trade agreement. Like their European counterparts, opponents in the US believe the potential deal is being driven by big business, threatening the environment, health and safety standards.

Outside George Mason University protesters held a small rally to protest against the transatlantic negotiations.

“The corporate agenda here will be to take the lowest common denominator in any standard and harmonise down toward the lowest level of protection,” said protester Gynnie Robnett outside George Mason University.

But supporters of the planned trade deal claim it would boost growth and create jobs on both sides of the Atlantic.

“The US and Europe both have to fit into a very competitive world and there are countries in Asia, in Latin America that are rising up in a lot of areas to challenge us. We need to sharpen our game, Europeans and Americans, working together, this is the best opportunity out there to do that,” said Shaun Donnelly from the US Council for International Business.

Reporting from Washington euronews’ Stefan Grobe said: “The transatlantic trade talks have reached a critical stage. As stakeholders on both sides of the issue are getting more and more energized, political resistance is building in Europe and in America. Against this backdrop, the outcome of the European elections can be crucial.”