On Thursday, 23rd of April 2015, the Anglo-American University hosted a discussion on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, better known as TTIP. The event was very timely, as in parallel the 9th round of negotiations took place in New York last week.
Our guests Pavel Buršík and Kryštof Kruliš are both passionate and persuasive men albeit they each stand on a different side of “the barricade”. While Pavel Buršík represents the civic activist position; working for the Iuridicum Remedium NGO which currently runs the Špatný vttip (Bad joke) initiative against the TTIP, Pavel also has practical experience from working for the notoriously known political watchdog Demagog.cz, Frank Bold legal service for citizens and small businesses or from his stay at the European Parliament. On the other hand, Kryštof Kruliš is a research fellow at the Associacion for International Affairs (AMO) (Prague) and pursues his PhDs in International Relations and European Studies at the Institute of International Relations/Metropolitan University Prague, and at the Law School of the Charles University in Prague. But Kryštof is by no means an academic isolated from the real world, as he works in legal practice and often consults for the Czech Ministry of Industry and Trade on free trade issues such as the recently signed CETA and of course the TTIP.
After brief introductions, our guest speakers presented to the audience to their opinions on the TTIP and called attention to the most problematic issues, namely the negotiation of common standards including environmental concerns, which was not a long way from trade in digital services and the highly controversial ISDS question: should investors be able to sue states for cancelled public procurement plans?
Despite, or perhaps precisely because of, the small audience, we had a lively and immediately interactive exchange between the guests themselves as well as the audience, who had many inquisitive and targeted questions for our guests. Before long, we got to the issue of transparency which is crucial for any democratic legitimacy considerations, concluding there is still room for improvement but it is at the same time fair to stress that the TTIP negotiations are more transparent than any previous FTAs negotiations in the past.