U.S. Berlin Embassy Offers $20,000 in Tax Dollars for pro-TAFTA/TTIP Events

U.S. Berlin Embassy Offers $20,000 in Tax Dollars for pro-TAFTA/TTIP Events

July 5, 2014 • 10:45AM

Showing how desperate the free traders are, the U.S. Embassy in Berlin was caught offering up to $20,000 to any group of individuals willing to organize a “positive” public event on the TTIP. The TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) or TAFTA (Transatlantic Free Trade Agreement) is the current free trade agreement being negotiated between the Obama Administration and the EU.

In Germany, reports the French economic weekly La Tribune, the U.S. Embassy sent out a twitter message on June 17 saying “Du wünschst dir eine sachliche Debatte zu #TTIP? Wir auch! Wir fördern Projekte mit bis zu $20.000 http://t.co/9TrptBmrSL” (“Want have a positive debate on TTIP? So do we! We support projects up to $20,000”). The link opens on a form sheet to apply for the funding!

Such a blatant call for propaganda was mainly deplored by the pro-TTIP faction, while opponents were fueled in their convictions. The U.S. Embassy replied that the initiative aims to “elevate the level” of discussion on the subject. U.S. diplomat Peter Claussen is quoted in La Tribune June 19 saying: “We were seeking ways of encouraging people to look at different points of view in by providing a venue for them and asking the following question: ‘Is everybody against the project or are there just certain people who have a different point of view? We wanted to open a dialogue, which is the raison d’être for the social media.”

Anti-TTIP campaigners countered that this was a mission the U.S. government should not be undertaking. “As a public administration you have a different responsibility,” said Pia Eberhardt, a spokeswoman for the Corporate Europe Observatory, an activist group campaigning against excessive corporate influence and lobbying. “This would be an acceptable initiative if it came from industry. But the U.S. government always ought to broker on behalf of all its citizens, not just big industry,” she told Euractiv.

The sixth cycle of negotiations on the TTIP, whose content is kept out of public light, will start in Brussels on July 14.

Leave a Reply