Germany’s Pivotal Role on the Way to TTIP
Germany has long been one of the world’s leading trading nations. However, as in several other countries, the debate about the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) in Germany has taken an increasingly adversarial tone over the past year. Although some debate was anticipated in Germany regarding food safety and environmental issues, the country was not expected to be a major hurdle on the way to a transatlantic trade deal. Going beyond the NGO community, the debate now involves a wide array of societal actors and several distinct issues. Besides overarching concerns regarding the transparency of negotiations, other issues include fears over the lowering of European and German standards, as well as questions related to potential investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provisions. Given Germany’s position as Europe’s largest economy and one of the world’s leading traders, the debate in Germany has the potential to affect the scope and scale down the depth of a final agreement. Without careful handling, the German TTIP discussion could harm both the EU’s image in Germany as well as the already strained transatlantic relationship, instead of delivering a much-needed boost to both.