January 29, 2015

Is Europe on board for a new trade deal with the U.S.?

europe support for ttip germany france ukAmerican and European officials meet February 2 in Brussels for another round of negotiations aimed at creating a free trade agreement between the European Union and the United States. The proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) aims to remove most tariffs affecting the movement of goods across the Atlantic, reduce non-tariff regulatory barriers to transatlantic commerce and to spur more U.S.-EU cross-border investment.

But it has sparked criticism, with both EU and U.S. opponents claiming that TTIP may give too much power to corporations, especially foreign investors, and that it could undermine food safety and environmental standards, lowering U.S. chemical regulations and forcing Europeans to consume genetically-modified American foods and chlorinated chickens.

Overall, recent surveys in both the U.S. and the 28-member EU suggest there is widespread support for a deeper transatlantic trade and investment relationship in most EU countries and among publics representing most of the European population, economy and exports to the U.S.

More than half (53%) of the American public believes deeper trade and business ties with the EU will be a good thing for their country, according to a March 2014 Pew Research Center survey.

A Eurobarometer survey from fall 2014, conducted by TNS at the request of the European Commission, found that a majority (58%) of Europeans back a free trade and investment agreement between the EU and the U.S. A quarter are opposed to such a deal. Support for such an agreement is shared by half or more of people in 25 EU Member States. The three countries with particularly low support are Austria (39% favor vs. 53% oppose), Germany (39% vs. 41%) and Luxembourg (40% vs. 43%).

There are eight countries with very strong support, where more than seven-in-ten people back a transatlantic free trade agreement, including the Netherlands (74%), Poland (73%), Denmark (71%) and Ireland (71%). Moreover, there is majority support in countries that together account for 69% of the EU population, 61% of the EU Gross Domestic Product and 59% of EU merchandise exports to the U.S.

However, such support does not necessarily mean clear sailing for TTIP on either side of the Atlantic. A spring 2014 Pew Research poll found a majority of Italians (59%) and a plurality of the French (49%) think trade destroys jobs. And 52% of Italians, 49% of the Greeks and 47% of the French say it lowers wages. Likewise, 50% of Americans share concerns about job losses and 45% are worried trade undermines wages.

Topics: Globalization and Trade

  1. Photo of Bruce Stokes

    is director of global economic attitudes at Pew Research Center.


  1. Helmut E.2 years ago

    But now it has become absolutely clear that many sober-minded people in Europe are against the TTIP agreement with the USA as they are greatly concerned about its consequences for their countries in the near future
    The opposition against TTIP alliance is growing every day because an overwhelming majority of Europeans realize that this agreement is dangerous for democracy, our environment, consumer protection and other important standards of European way of life. The European Citizens’ Initiative run by the Stop TTIP alliance, consisting of 340 organizations from all over Europe has already collected more than 1,500,000 signatures to stop TTIP process. And, I think, the European Commission must take these results seriously and immediately stop negotiations on TTIP.

  2. Arnold2 years ago

    I would like to know wether in the questionaire people have been asked for “More Transatlantic trade and invesment partnership” or if they agreed with “The Transatlantic trade and investment partnership (TTIP)”. The reason i’m asking is because they will, as you are most likely aware of, trigger different responses in light of people not knowing what the TTIP agreement would emply.
    For example, if i were asked wether i am pro-trade agreements in general (which is what the first question emplies), yes… if i am asked specifically about the TTIP agreement, which happens to have the convenient name of being masked as a general thing… I would have asked to specify what this particular agreement is all about and give you a well funded answer.

    I know for a fact that in the Netherlands we have not heard about such an agreement and therefor i highly doubt the figure of 74% could be generalized as a figure of the public whom agrees with THE actual agreement and what it emplies. I believe these answers are based on a general idea of more partnership… Therefor the conclusions can never be used as a pro-TTIP specific campaign.

    So please enlighten my views please and might i also ask how the researched population represents the entire population.

  3. Jane in the UK2 years ago

    Asking whether Europeans support “a deeper transatlantic trade and investment relationship” is like asking whether Americans support motherhood and apple pie. In other words, it is so vague as to be meaningless.

    Asking whether Europeans would support “a free trade and investment agreement between the US and the EU” which was the Eurobarometer question, is also meaningless without the details.

    If Europeans were to be asked specifically about things like the investor state dispute provision, and “enhanced regulatory cooperation” you may get a very different answer.

    Over 1,300,000 Europeans so far have signed a European Citizens’ Initiative opposing TTIP outright. An EU consultation on TTIP received 150,000 responses the majority of which are negative.

    The overriding issue is that people want their governments to be able to regulate in the public interest without the interference of multinational corporations. This is exactly what TTIP will obstruct.

    The devil is always in the details, which the negotiators have gone to great lengths to keep secret. Don’t be fooled by these polls. We aren’t.

  4. Volker H.A. Fritz2 years ago

    The positive views of the populations in many of the European countries are based on the
    belief that the title “free trade agreement” tells, what TTIP does incorporate.
    If they would understand that the real behind would better be described by the title
    “agreement to allow the international companies and finance trusts to act, without
    regarding national governments and national laws of the individual countries and
    without beeing endangered by national justice” – then , I believe so, would more
    than 50% of all Europeans be against such agreement.
    But their governments and their media tell them only about enhanced “free trade
    options” and this sounds good. But it’s not the truth about the contents.
    Unhappily many political people have false beliefs about what TTIP really means.

    We Europeans can only hope that things will stay as they are now between EU and the
    USA and Canada. If one of those treaties come to validity, we will loose values and
    social qualities, as they “hamper” the profits of the “Very Big”.

    Volker Fritz