James E. Westcott

The fact that most people have still never heard of the world’s biggest trade deal—the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the US and Europe—even after two years of negotiations, might suggest that whatever its problems, maintaining secrecy is not one of them. But the European Commission begs to differ: since the end of July, instead of sending up-to-the-minute summaries of its talks with the US to EU politicians, the Commission now requires that national politicians travel all the way to Brussels to a special reading room where the texts can be viewed under tight security. MEPs must also use this same system.

The EC made this rather drastic move in response to confidential TTIP documents appearing on the non-profit investigative news site Correct!v. News of this secret reading room was revealed in a confidential report of an EU meeting that took place on 24 July… which rather embarrassingly was then also leaked to the same site.

The new system is pretty insulting for top politicians, who are not used to being treated likely naughty schoolchildren that require constant adult supervision. Furthermore, considering the wide-ranging implications of TTIP, you’d think that the EC would want to make it easier for European…

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