By Jared Angle
October 19, 2015
*Note: this article is a hypothetical policy memo for a graduate school assignment and does not necessarily reflect my exact opinions on aspects of the TTIP negotiations.
Despite strong indications that the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) will be successfully concluded in the near future, the European Commission must take several steps to ensure the agreement’s ratification by European Union member states.
- Increase public and media access to TTIP negotiation texts and draft proposals
- Dismantle the existing investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) framework and establish an investment court system that is equitable, democratically accountable, and publicly accessible
- Establish a comprehensive food labeling system to protect regional agricultural traditions, identify GMO products, and facilitate consumer choice in European and American markets
For the past two years, citizens of EU member states have paid considerable attention to the ongoing TTIP negotiations. Multiple public consultations have demonstrated significant dissatisfaction surrounding the quality and impact of TTIP as it currently stands. This public opposition gives the European Commission renewed incentive to use the next round of negotiations as an opportunity to coordinate with our counterparts at the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) to make key revisions to the proposed text of the agreement in a manner that addresses the concerns of European civil society while also reconciling the economic interests of private individuals and enterprises in each sector.
Facing expensive rent, limited apartment availability and dismal job prospects, many Slovaks continue to live with their parents well into adulthood. With annual salaries as low as €6000, many young Slovaks can’t afford to pay €500 per month to rent an apartment in central Bratislava. Just as they are living at home for longer, Slovaks are also delaying marriage and parenthood, often waiting until their late twenties to early thirties, a trend seen in other post-communist member states in the eastern reaches of the European Union.
Russia is in the midst of a lost year, with stark economic stagnation and the lowest growth rate since a crippling recession in 2009, according to a new analysis released by the World Bank. With low oil prices persisting since mid-2014, Russia’s oil revenues have plummeted and capital flight has become a growing problem as exporters find a lack of demand for their products abroad. If Russia is slapped with further sanctions over its role in the Ukraine conflict, the world’s largest country could find itself struggling for years to come.