Germans are not merely skeptical about the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, the proposed free trade deal between the European Union and United States. They are hostile to it.
That has been evident over and over again in opinion polls and demonstrations against TTIP. On October 10, at least 150,000 people protested in Berlin against the deal which they fear will lower food and trade standards and hand too much power to large corporations.
Such hostility does not provide conducive conditions for bringing the treaty, which has been negotiated for more than two years, to a positive conclusion.
The secrecy surrounding the negotiation papers further adds to the public’s wariness of the deal, and plays into the hands of those spreading conspiracy theories. Following pressure from non-governmental organizations, the European Commission did allow German parliamentarians to view the discussion papers on a secure server. But after numerous documents were leaked, the EU Commission took this privilege away.
The negotiating documents can now only be seen in Germany by certain ministry officials in a reading room at the U.S. Embassy.