Monday 2 May 2016 3:59 pm

TTIP leak is a "storm in a teacup" says EU trade commissioner after Greenpeace publishes secret documents

A leak of confidential information claiming to reveal the disagreements in negotiations between Europe and the US on the TTIP free trade deal have been labelled a "storm in a teacup" by a senior official in Europe.

Draft documents detailing the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership talks were published by Greenpeace in the Netherlands, which it said show serious cause for concern when it comes to environmental and consumer protections.

European trade commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom responded to the documents saying they by no means show the outcome of discussions and called headlines about the documents "alarmist".

It is only normal that both parties in a negotiation want to achieve as many of their own objectives as possible. That does not mean that the other side gives in to those demands. That does not mean that the parties will meet halfway. In areas where we are too far apart in a negotiation, we simply will not agree. In that sense, many of today's alarmist headlines are a storm in a teacup.

Malmstrom published a blog post to clear up "a number of misconceptions floating around" about the deal.

Responding to claims by Greenpeace and campaigners that corporations have been favoured in negotiations over other organisations, she said:

"And no, the EU industry does not have greater access to EU negotiating positions than other stakeholders. We take into account submissions by industry, but exactly the same applies to submissions by trade unions, consumer groups or health or environmental organisation."

"It begs to be said, again and again: No EU trade agreement will ever lower our level of protection of consumers, or food safety, or of the environment. Trade agreements will not change our laws on GMOs, or how to produce safe beef, or how to protect the environment," she continued.

The EU's chief negotiator Ignacio Garcia Bercero also spoke today about the progress of talks, the latest round of which took place last week. He said talks have not solved the major differences between the two sides, such as services or procurement and stressed that the so-called consolidated texts did not reflect the outcome or the full negotiations.