The Transatlantic Free Trade Area, TAFTA for short.
The recent revelations of spying by the US government
Along with traditional ideological adversaries and sensitive Middle Eastern countries, the list of targets includes the EU missions and the French, Italian and Greek embassies, as well as a number of other American allies, including Japan, Mexico, South Korea, India and Turkey. The list in the September 2010 document does not mention the UK, Germany or other western European states.Demonstrate a fundamental distrust by the US of even its closest allies, the only reason the UK isn't on the list is because of the almost fusional nature of GCHQ and NSA operations.
This activity seriously puts into doubt whether a "free trade" zone should be even considered. Trust works both ways and how much the PRISM and Tempora programs have been used to data-mine corporate communications has not as yet been revealed.
To be quite frank the whole idea of TAFTA is merely to benefit a few and Europe and the US have great cultural divides in terms of how a State should be run.
Labor laws [holidays, maternal leave, unions etc etc]
Universal health care.
Climate change mitigation.
Agriculture [GMOs, HFCS, Hormones etc etc]
To name but a few, and few in Europe would be satisfied with the alternatives to these in operation in the US.
We don't have to be part of a global free for all [or in reality for the very few].
Europe should have learnt its lessons from the lies to war by the Bush Administration and there will come a time when Republicans will again be in the White House.
The EU should learn from this massive spying operation that the US cannot be trusted, and the last thing its corporations want is a level playing field.
The question this spying also raises is the future of NATO
Germany's justice minister, Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, demanded an explanation from Washington, saying that if confirmed, US behaviour "was reminiscent of the actions of enemies during the cold war".TAFTA should be immediately relegated to the box of bad ideas, and the US should have to answer some serious questions, and just saying, but, but everyone knew; wont hold water.
Apparently I am not the only one making this connection
“Partners do not spy on each other,” the European commissioner for justice and fundamental rights, Viviane Reding, said at a public event in Luxembourg on Sunday.
“We cannot negotiate over a big transatlantic market if there is the slightest doubt that our partners are carrying out spying activities on the offices of our negotiators,” Reding said in comments passed on to reporters by her spokeswoman.
The European Parliament’s foreign affairs committee head Elmar Brok, from Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats. echoed those views.
“The spying has taken on dimensions that I would never have thought possible from a democratic state,” he told Der Spiegel.
“How should we still negotiate if we must fear that our negotiating position is being listened to beforehand?”