I know there are concerns about the agreement. I also remember there were concerns when Poland was joining the European Union over 10 years ago, and today Poland is benefiting greatly.
- Commissioner Malmström -
A diverse audience of more than 350 people gathered in the Warsaw University Library to actively participate in a Citizens' Dialogue devoted to TTIP with Cecilia Malmström – Commissioner for Trade. More than 3,000 people followed the webstream and participated actively in a lively discussion on Twitter, making #EUdialogues the top Twitter trend in Poland.
"It would be dull if everyone agreed", Commissioner Malmström said in her introductory remarks and answered a number of questions asked by the opponents of TTIP, who had held demonstrations in front of the library.
"I know there are concerns about the agreement. I also remember there were concerns when Poland was joining the European Union over 10 years ago and today Poland is benefiting greatly." she declared.
She underlined that negotiations on TTIP have been made much more transparent than for any other trade agreement in the past.
Cecilia Malmström described how Europeans would benefit from a trade agreement with the United States, and how such an agreement would bring strategic advantages to both the EU and the US. She highlighted the benefits of the trade agreement for Poland, giving examples from the agricultural sector and automotive industry.
"The whole idea of TTIP is to create jobs, we need to create more possibilities!" - she added.
She assured the audience that high standards will be kept and existing laws, for example on GMO products (the need for EFSA approval), will not change.
"You should not underestimate the ability of your SMEs", she replied to those raising concerns about competition with American companies and assured that specific chapters are being negotiated to support this important part of industry. She answered a number of other questions on a wide variety of issues in the context of TTIP, including those on nuclear energy, public services and animal testing.
A group of people wearing anti-TTIP T-shirts voiced their concerns, especially about the existing investor-to-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism. Cecilia Malmström made it clear: the European Commission has just approved its proposal for a new and transparent system for resolving disputes between investors and states – the Investment Court System. This new system would replace the ISDS mechanism in all ongoing and future EU investment negotiations, including the EU-US talks on a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).
While nearly 80% of participants declared at the beginning of the Dialogue that they do not have enough information on what is being negotiated in TTIP, during the final round of voting a vast majority of 70% of participants in the library agreed that the Citizens' Dialogue had increased their knowledge about TTIP.
#EUdialogueswas for a long time the top Twitter trend in Poland on the day of the event, which proved that those following the Dialogue online were fully engaged in this much needed exchange of opinions.
More can be found here: http://ec.europa.eu/polska/news/150918_ttip_debata_pl.htm