08:22 GMT01 June 2020
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    The European Commission is attempting to resurrect support for the controversial Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) following recent criticism from within the EU, with EC President Jean Claude Juncker to demand the EU leaders' backing of the deal.

    Juncker is pushing member states to reaffirm their support for the trade agreement at this month's European Council summit, with the commission arguing countries must show they are "rowing in the same direction". 

    "President Juncker feels that the time has come to ask heads of state and governments of the European Union to have a new discussion on where we are and where we want to get with these negotiations," spokesperson Daniel Rosario said.

    Criticism Growing

    The call for member states to pledge their support for TTIP comes amid increasing political criticism of the deal.

    Under-fire French President Francois Hollande said he would reject the deal in its current state, as disagreements over agricultural issues remain a strong bone of contention between the parties.

    "There can be no question of sacrificing our interests to get a deal. Geographical indications contribute to preserving agricultural quality in our country. They help keep our farming activity on our land."

    Adding to the criticism, German Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel broke ranks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel over her enthusiastic support for TTIP, saying he didn't "wish to be part of a bad deal".

    Fears Over TTIP Deadline

    The political criticism, which has followed strong public opposition to TTIP, has led to fears an agreement may not be struck by the time US President Barack Obama leaves office in November.

    Pro-TTIP officials fear this could scupper the deal completely, with US Presidential candidates Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders all expressing criticism over the deal.

    Proponents of TTIP say the trade deal between the US and EU will cut red tape and increase trade. However, critics say it would play into the hands of major corporations by washing away workers' rights and undermining the sovereignty of governments.


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    trade agreements, TTIP, summit, European Commission, Sigmar Gabriel, Francois Hollande, Jean-Claude Juncker, Germany, Europe, United States, France
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