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The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is a trade agreement that is currently being negotiated between the European Union and the United States – with the intention to lower trade barriers and boost economic growth. The negotiations have received massive critique for being conducted in secret, favoring multinational corporations’ interests and compromising European health and environmental regulations. In response to the negotiations Friends of the Earth Europe has arranged a “Trojan Horse Treaty tour” around Europe to put light on the hidden agenda of the negotiations.
In the last month an eight-meter high inflatable Trojan Horse was raised in cities across Europe. The Trojan tour is an initiative from Friends of the Earth Europe, denouncing the content and secrecy surrounding the negotiations of the TTIP trade agreement between the EU and the US. Fabian Flues, from Friends of the Earth Europe, coordinator of the tour, explains that the Trojan Horse was chosen as a symbol as it represents something that is arriving in secret, and once it is revealed it is actually a lot worse then what people think it is: “the trade talks are being used by large multinational international corporations to get rid of regulations, standards and protections, that they have wanted to get rid of for a long time - now they are using the trade talks to dismantle these regulations”. Fabian states that the 8 meter horse was used to reach out to more people across Europe, in order for them to understand the danger that trade treaty negotiations pose: “only a few people are aware of what is happening in Brussels and Washington – where the negotiations are talking place”.
In Hungary the “Trojan treaty tour” took place in five different cities, were the action in Budapest took place in front of the Parliament. Robert Fidrich from Friends of the Earth Hungary, points to the success of the tour in Hungary - where most people had never heard about the trade talks: “we had a possibility to explain to them what the trade agreements are about and what the possible dangers are - then most of the people came to us and signed the petitions”. Robert states that the response from the Hungarian public was strong: “they do not want American transnational companies given so much power and threaten the GMO free status of Hungary”. He however points to that: ”the main question is whether the Hungarian government really fights against this treaty or if they just quietly say sometimes to the European Commission –that they do not support it but they do not really object it”.
Fabian says that the reception overall in Europe of the Trojan Horse has been very positive and there has been a lot of media attention in the countries: “we have seen images of the been used by large new papers and media outlets in Europe and beyond – even Al-Jazeera has used the images”. The European Trojan Treaty tour is planned to continue in Europe during spring and summer 2015. He recommends anyone that is curious to see images of the Trojan Horse or to get more information on the trade agreement to visit Friends of the Earth Europe’s Storify account.
To hear more about the consequences of the TTIP trade agreement to Hungary listen to Robert Fidrich statement in the recorded interview.
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