Faculté de Droit, de Science Politique et de Criminologie
Faculté de Droit, de Science Politique et de Criminologie

Confronting Fear to Reality : Analysing the European Union TTIP Negotiating Positions and the Criticisms Raised by Civil Society

Pantorno, Alessio ULiège
Promotor(s) : Michel, Quentin ULiège
Date of defense : 16-Aug-2016/6-Sep-2016 • Permalink :
Title : Confronting Fear to Reality : Analysing the European Union TTIP Negotiating Positions and the Criticisms Raised by Civil Society
Author : Pantorno, Alessio ULiège
Date of defense  : 16-Aug-2016/6-Sep-2016
Advisor(s) : Michel, Quentin ULiège
Committee's member(s) : Irrera, Daniela 
Hermans, Michel ULiège
Vincent, Philippe ULiège
Language : English
Number of pages : 65
Keywords : [en] TTIP
[en] Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership
[en] Civil Society Criticisms against TTIP
[en] European TTIP Negotiating Positions
[en] EU-US Economic Relations
[en] TTIP Negotiating Mandate
Discipline(s) : Law, criminology & political science > Political science, public administration & international relations
Target public : Researchers
Professionals of domain
General public
Institution(s) : Université de Liège, Liège, Belgique
Degree: Master en sciences politiques, orientation générale, à finalité spécialisée en politiques européennes - relations euro-méditerranéennes
Faculty: Master thesis of the Faculté de Droit, de Science Politique et de Criminologie


[en] Since the starting of negotiations, TTIP has attracted fierce criticisms from a large part of civil society: non-governmental organizations, trade unions, associations, etc. They firmly oppose the conclusion of such a treaty between EU and US because, in their opinion, it will engender disastrous consequences for the European Union and its citizens affecting negatively the European environmental, social, economic and political standards and values.
On the other side, there are the Council of the European Union and the European Commission pushing for the conclusion of a comprehensive and ambitious transatlantic partnership to boost the economy, create jobs and shape global standards and values.
Moved by the desire to shed light on such controversial treaty in order to better understand what is at stake and what there is behind the negotiations of this ambitious transatlantic free trade area, I dedicated the present work to the opposition that sees on one side the Civil Society accusing the European Institutions to compromise the fundaments of the EU and, on the other side, the European Commission trying to overcome such criticisms and getting to the end line of the negotiations.
Therefore, I posed myself the following research question which guided me in drawing up the present document: In relation to the European Union negotiating positions, are Civil Society’s concerns about TTIP, seen as a menace to the European high level environmental, social, economic and political standards and values, well founded?
To find an answer to this research question I focused my attention on the different reasons which brought the Civil Society to harshly campaign against TTIP and on those supported by the European Commission and the Council to defend and promote the conclusion of it. These opposite perspectives are studied through the lens of a qualitative methodology analysing official documents, specific literature, position papers, case studies, and interviews which usefully contributed to deeply comprehend parties’ position on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership issue.
During the research other interesting questions interconnected one another arose on which I also focused my attention, enriching the purpose of the work and enlarging the field of study, such as: Is the European Commission taking into account civil society claims in the negotiating process? Is there any possibility to reach a compromise between them? Is civil society participating to the negotiating process?
The present work is structured in three chapters, each of them aims at explaining the position assumed by those actors taken into account for the purpose of the thesis, respectively: 1. Council of the EU; 2. civil society; 3. European Commission.
The first chapter starts making a brief historical excursus of EU-US relations, describing the key institutional links that since about sixty years have been established between them, creating a long-standing and solid political and economic partnership. Analysing such a relation, the chapter continues mentioning the decision of leaders of both countries to further strengthen their relation through a transatlantic treaty, creating on purpose a High Level Working Group (HLWG) to explore new ways of cooperation. Then it introduces the main findings of the final report released by this group, consisting in a series of recommendations that negotiators should follow for reaching an ambitious transatlantic partnership. But the very core of the first section is represented by the deep analyses of the Council negotiating mandate which, departing from those recommendations made by the HLWG, dictated the ‘red lines’ with which the European Commission must comply in negotiating TTIP provisions, a framework delimiting the areas of negotiations.
The second chapter analyses the civil society perspective. It begins introducing those civil society organizations which are in the forefront of the campaign against the TTIP, firstly taking into account their means of action. Indeed, it focuses on the online platform ‘’ created by them which accounts as the largest anti-TTIP front of the European Union. Then, the chapter continues analysing the majeure criticisms raised by civil society, carefully describing their concerns towards those critical issues involved in the negotiations. To better understanding their worries, I interviewed one of the main organiser guiding the anti-TTIP campaign whose arguments represent a good tool for having an effective overview of civil society perspective.
The third chapter describes the perspective of the European Commission, since it is charged to carry out the negotiations on behalf of the EU. This section analyses the behaviour assumed by the European Commission vis-à-vis civil society’s claims, studying its attitude to take into considerations their will and requests and to resolve their discontents. In this chapter the lens is particularly pointed towards the position papers and proposals for legal text on TTIP tabled during the negotiation rounds by the Commission in order to understand the positions and principles followed by the European Union for such a treaty.
In conclusion the present work aims at matching the negotiating positions put forward by the European Commission through the textual proposals with the criticisms raised by civil society in order to find an answer to my research question.



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  • Pantorno, Alessio ULiège Université de Liège > Master sc. pol., or. gén., à fin. sp. pol eur med(ex 2e ma.)


Committee's member(s)

  • Irrera, Daniela University of Catania > Department of Political and Social Sciences
  • Hermans, Michel ULiège Université de Liège - ULg > HEC-Ecole de gestion de l'ULg : UER > Impacts managér. des politiques de mondial. et de communic.
    ORBi View his publications on ORBi
  • Vincent, Philippe ULiège Université de Liège - ULg > Département de droit > Département de droit
    ORBi View his publications on ORBi
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