George Bush continues his frenetic pace toward connecting the world with trade agreements while harmonizing laws and regulations that will supersede those of individual nations.
On April 30, 2007, Bush signed an agreement in Washington for a “new transatlantic economic partnership” between the United States and the European Union. It includes a permanent “economic council” with cabinet level members from the United States and their equivalent from the EU. It will be the basis for a single market.” http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/europe/6607757.stm
The process started when Bill Clinton signed the Transatlantic Agenda on December 3, 1995 in Madrid, with officials of the European Union.
On May 18, 1998, leaders of the EU-US Summit “adopted a joint statement on the Transatlantic Economic Partnership (TEP)” for deeper integration between the United States and Europe, which includes organizational arrangements to make the TEP a reality.
The agreement that Bush signed on April 30, along with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, President of the EU, and Jose Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, sets up a framework for advancing EU-US transatlantic integration.
Topics are similar to those found in the SPP (Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America), with permanent organizations, twice-yearly summit meetings and regular cabinet level meetings.
The U.S. and the EU will now “push ahead with regulatory convergence (harmonization) in nearly 40 areas, including intellectual properties, financial services, business takeovers and the motor industry. The focus, like the SPP and other trade agreements is to reduce regulations and standards in order to bring new products to market quicker and cheaper, which means more profit for corporations.
The Transatlantic Economic Council was initiated under Section IV of the framework.
“The Transatlantic Economic Council is hereby established, to be co-chaired, on the U.S. side, by a U.S. Cabinet-level official in the Executive Office of the President (currently Allan Hubbard) and on the EU side by a member of the European Commission (currently Vice President Guenter Verheugen), collaborating closely with the EU Presidency.”
Some of the Council’s duties include:
9. Facilitate closer cooperation between the United States and European Union and our legislatures [U.S. Congress and EU Council and Parliament] and stakeholders [corporations].
10. Convene a group comprised of individuals experienced in transatlantic issues [business?] drawing in particular from the heads of existing transatlantic dialogues to provide input and guidance to the U.S.-EU Summit on priorities for pursuing transatlantic economic integration; and
11. include representatives of other governmental entities as the Council determines to be appropriate.
Under Annex 4 Investment
“In order to reduce barriers to transatlantic trade and investment…we resolve to:
B. Engage in regular discussions of laws, policies and practices that could impact investments in the EU and the United States;
C. Develop work to prevent, eliminate or reduce the impact from investment barriers,… [ change U.S. laws and policies?]
George Bush also signed the Open Skies agreement with EU leaders on April 30. It will become effective on March 30, 2008 “and will allow carriers to fly anywhere in the US and vice versa.” [BBC]
The EU hope is for an Open Aviation Area “in which investment can flow freely and in which European and US airlines can provide air services without any restriction.” They also want a no visa policy for travelers from “a number of EU states.” [There are about 20 million Muslims in the EU and many of those are citizens]
The Transatlantic Economic Partnership has been developed over the last 12 years and members of Congress had a role. But no one bothered to tell the American people. And again, the media has been silent on another project that will bring us closer to corporate governance.