Exclusive Exclusive: TTIP Raises Constitutional Concerns, Says Former German High Court Judge

The European Union should pause trade negotiations with the United States due to constitutional concerns, the former president of Germany’s Constitutional Court told Handelsblatt in an exclusive interview. “For constitutional reasons, taking a pause from TTIP is recommended,” Hans-Jürgen Papier said. “The public has the feeling that the far-reaching law is being made without parliament.” Mr. Papier called on Brussels to rethink the goals, the form and the process through which the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or TTIP, has been negotiated. “Brussels should reconsider whether or not the E.U. has taken on too much,” Mr. Papier said. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker had originally argued that CETA, the E.U. trade pact with Canada, was a purely European matter and national parliaments wouldn’t be consulted in ratifying a final deal. But the commission, the European Union’s executive body, was ultimately forced to relent under intense pressure from member states including Germany. CETA is considered a blueprint for TTIP. There has been strong grass roots mobilization against TTIP in Germany over concerns that it would weaken environmental, consumer and labor standards. “Unpopular content can’t be slipped past parliament,” Mr. Papier said. “That’s reprehensible in terms of democratic theory and is an arrogant and cynical way of proceeding.” German Economics Minister Sigmar Gabriel recently warned the United States that it must accept higher regulatory standards if the negotiations are to proceed. European and American negotiators are currently engaged in the 14th round of TTIP talks, which end Friday. The negotiators hope to hammer out the key points of a deal before U.S. President Barack Obama leaves office in January. Read the full story in Friday’s Handelsblatt Global Edition. Picture Source: DPA