The European Commission said on 2 May that the leaked confidential documents on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), reflected negotiating positions, not any final outcome, the EU's chief negotiator Ignacio Garcia Bercero said, dismissing some of Greenpeace's points as "flatly wrong".
"Quite frankly some of the points that Greenpeace has been making on the basis of these documents are flatly wrong. For instance, it has been said that the European Union is ignoring in these negotiations the precautionary principle. That is nowhere reflected upon in the documents," Bercero said at a briefing in Brussels.
The sweeping free trade deal being negotiated between the European Union and the United States would lower food safety and environmental standards, Greenpeace said, citing confidential documents from the talks. The environment group opposes the proposed TTIP, arguing with other critics that it would hand too much power to big business at the expense of consumers and national governments. Supporters say the TTIP would deliver more than $100bn (£67.8bn) of economic gains on both sides of the Atlantic.
The documents show how entrenched differences have become on both sides of the Atlantic, Greenpeace said, though Washington and Brussels said last week they could still reach a deal before US President Barack Obama leaves office in January 2017. Greenpeace Netherlands published 248 pages of "consolidated texts" for 13 chapters, or about half, of the deal on the website TTIP-leaks.org. The reports date from early April, before a round of meetings in New York last week.
"The consolidated text is a document that puts the proposal from the United States and the proposal from the European Union together in a joint document. It is not therefore a document which in any way is intended to reflect an outcome of the negotiations or which is intended to reflect an agreement between the two sides," Bercero said.
The negotiators aim to have "consolidated texts" by July, when a 14th round of talks is due to be held. They would then seek to settle the thornier issues in the second half of 2016.