High Level Dinner meeting on TTIP


Brussels

Following the exchange with AFL-CIO and partners in Washington D.C. this February, FEPS - Foundation for European Progressive Studies is relaunching its research initiative on TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership). The restarting point is foreseen to have a format of a high level working dinner, which is scheduled to take place in Brussels on Tuesday, 3rd June and where the subsequent steps will be discussed at the junction conversation among progressive politicians, academics, NGOs representatives and trade unionist gathered.

The conversation will be inaugurated by Mr. Massimo D'Alema, President of FEPS and the introduction to the 'state of play' by Dr. Ernst Stetter, FEPS Secretary General. Following that, Professor Mario Telo and Professor Andrew Gamble will offer to the group their respective research-based observation on the current situation, as also on the potential opportunities and threats that the TTIP negotiations may lead to.

The participation in this event is by invitations only, however it is foreseen that in the course of the year there will be activities held by FEPS and its project partners that will be open to the public. To be kept in the loop and to contribute to the debate, please do not hesitate to contact Dr. Ania Skrzypek, FEPS Senior Research Fellow at ania.skrzypek@feps-europe.eu 
Background
FEPS research initiative on TTIP started at the end of 2013. There are 5 partners directly involved in the project, which are: Global Progressive Forum, Jean Jaurès Foundation, Policy Network, Renner Insttitute and SOLIDAR. The initiative is foreseen to be concluded around 5 main themes: Just and equitable international policies for a New Global Deal?; A new geo-strategic EU-US partnership to regulate global financial capitalism?; Common inclusive and sustainable growth based on stable and decent jobs creation?;The costs, benefits and opportunities of further trade in goods and services?; and A new understanding of transatlantic progressivism - towards a new social contract?.
The research pillars are headed respectively by: Pascal Lamy (Former Director-General of WTO and FEPS Vice-President); Poul Nyrup Rasmuseen (Former Prime Minister of Denmark and former President of PES); Lord (Roger) Liddle (Chair of Policy Network), Dr. Alfred Gusenbauer (Former Chancellor of Austria and Chair of the FEPS Next Left Research Programme). 

The way a new research initiative would therefore be an undeniable contributions is to aim at framing a more complex, holistic narrative to describe a distinctively progressive, transatlantic in its nature approach towards the TTIP.
The need for it is apparent not only as a reference point, but also as an explanation of the political choices. Therefore this international political economics research program to analyse potential aspects of the current TTIP. While carefully approaching the estimations on the TTIP being the easiest way out of the crisis, the aim is to search for parameters that would enable assessing in how far the benefits of it are burdened with pressures. To that extent, the research will ensure the connection in between three dimensions of understanding of TTIP:

- It will aim at defining positive progressive approach (conceptualizing the values-based blueprint for the TTIP)

- It will look at the specific issues: in their larger sense (such as commitment to labour rights and standards; to putting in place a quality-jobs-led growth; to the paradigm of sustainable development; to the social, cultural and economic rights of individuals; to the principles of democracy) and in their more regulatory dimensions (financial markets, public services provision etc.)

- It will conceptualize the ways through which progressive TTIP can become a comprehensive concept within the scope of deliberative democracy (looking at the questions of democracy, Investors’-State Dispute (ISDS), involvement of the trade unions and the place of tripartite dialogue in forming the new regulations, as also the question of supervision of the rules)

Thirdly, the initiative will operate on numerous levels – mirroring the diverse character of the partners involved in the conversation. It will seek:

- Formulating a forward looking approach, which anchored in research will equip with the new understanding of the dynamics of TTIP and will allow anticipating on the challenges that it may bring

- Gearing up a message of a different quality, which is not confined to the institutional terms of the ongoing debate and which provides a set of clear choices

- Mobilizing a progressive coalition, which would gain the attention, be able to raise awareness and could intervene in the course of the debate on the different levels and within the different stages (in consultations, negotiations, parliamentary debates).

In that sense, the initiative seeks to emancipate the discussion form the confinement of both anxieties and particularities, seeking a well formulated political narrative that could carry a vision of a progressive TTIP. The search, and herewith also the underpinning question is in how far and how the TTIP can be negotiated to become a fulfillment of the promise of a new opening, which can realize to the benefit, progress and prosperity of all.