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Luxembourg: Foreign Minister supports TTIP but “not at all cost”

Luxemburger Wort | 26 November 2014

Foreign Minister supports TTIP but “not at all cost”

(CS) Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn has said that the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership between the EU and the US presents an opportunity to attract American business to Luxembourg, but added that the union should not enter the agreement “at all cost.”

Speaking in parliament on Tuesday, Asselborn assured that “Luxembourg, together with the EU, will at no moment be prepared to weaken our European standards.” Especially in regards to GMOs, public services and cultural goods, “our legislation will stay as it is,” the Foreign Minister commented.

Asselborn also said that he had written to the new EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström, raising concerns expressed by the wider public about the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.

“We don’t want a TTIP at all cost,” the minister said, but added that with a solid agreement, the EU could have a say in the rules of globalisation, and that together with the US it could determine standards which could become the norm worldwide. “Only together can we better defend our democratic norms and values globally,” he commented.

Acknowledging that TTIP is “controversial,” Asselborn also said that it “could represent a turning point” in the globalisation process, which he finds to often appear to develop without rules.

Business opportunities

For Luxembourg, TTIP could mean new impulses for its maritime services, the automotive industry and new technologies, the minister said, as well as the possibility to strengthen its role as a logistics hub in the heart of Europe.

“Many new American companies could settle down with us to establish their European seat, and those, which are already here, could develop their activities. Currently, over 10,000 people work directly at American subsidiaries,” he remarked.

While Asselborn’s comments on TTIP were largely positive, Finance Minister Pierre Gramegna at a lunch of the American Chamber of Commerce in Luxembourg earlier in the day commented that he would like to see increased transparency in the talks, saying that even national governments were given only limited access to the discussions.

Following a call by the EU’s Ombudswoman Emily O’Reilly for the European Commission to make TTIP more transparent earlier this year, the institution pledged this week to publish more documents.

 source: Luxemburger Wort