European elections special: where the candidates to head the EU Commission stand on the controversial transatlantic trade treaty

By

The free trade treaty currently being hammered out between the European Union and the United States is a major issue in this week’s elections of members of the European Parliament, which in France will be held on Sunday. For this year also sees the departure of EU Commission president José Manuel Barroso, and for the first time the new head of this key EU body will be appointed from the political grouping that does best in this week’s continent-wide elections. Here, Mediapart's Brussels correspondent Ludovic Lamant questions all of the parties’ declared candidates for the post of Commission president - Martin Schulz, Guy Verhofstadt, Alexis Tsipras, José Bové and Jean-Claude Juncker – and hears their conflicting views on the transatlantic free trade deal.

Reading articles is for subscribers only. Subscribe now.

Mediapart has questioned the five declared candidates for the presidency of the European Commission (EC) about their views on the increasingly controversial free-trade treaty currently under negotiation between the European Union and the US. This treaty, known as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), is still being negotiated but already it is attracting criticism over one of the key elements in the deal: the presence of a clause that would allow private companies to demand huge damages from member states if public policy changes adversely affect return on their investments. Largely unknown to the wider public, these are called Investor-State Dispute Settlements, or ISDS. Other key issues over the treaty include the level of protection given to consumers' personal data, and the transparency before the public of the negotiations themselves.