EU uses YouTube to overcome U.S. trade deal hostility

An EU official has said that they "barely know how to talk to ordinary people" and have launched video clips on YouTube to counter misconceptions about the Trans Atlantic partner deal.

EU uses YouTube to overcome U.S. trade deal hostility

World Bulletin / News Desk

In early 2013, President Barack Obama's call for a U.S.-EU trade deal generated such optimism in Europe that the graffiti "NO TAFTA, NO TTIP" scrawled under a bridge near the EU headquarters in Brussels was an isolated message of dissent.

More than two years on, with the graffiti still there, European officials are ruing their failure to spot early signs of opposition to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), also known unofficially as the Trans-Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA).

The bureaucrats are finally fighting back in a public relations battle against outspoken activists adept at sound bites, branding and social media.

"We barely know how to talk to ordinary people," said one EU official involved in the Commission's pro-trade message.

Using some of the tools employed by anti-trade campaigners, the European Commission, which is negotiating with the United States for a deal which may still be a year off, has taken the unusual step of launching video clips on YouTube. It has also published leaflets, fact sheets and "myth-busting" brochures to counter what it says are misconceptions about TTIP.

With import tariffs already low, the talks focus on regulatory cooperation, with promises of a combined market of 800 million people encompassing almost half the world economy and gains of more than $100 billion on both sides of the Atlantic.

While few people complain about the prospects of a car made to U.S. standards being sold in Europe and vice versa, European critics have voiced concern that the EU will lower health, consumer safety and environmental standards, for example fully opening up to GM crops, widely used in America but viewed with suspicion in Europe.

A pan-European protest movement known as 'STOP TTIP' has sprung up, supported by hard left and environmental activists, but also regular Europeans who worry about the impact on jobs, food safety and the power of multinationals.

Only 39 percent of Germans and 50 percent of French support a trade agreement between Europe and the United States, according to a Pew Research Center survey.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 27 Temmuz 2015, 16:52