European ministers outline bleak prospects for TTIP

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Ministers from across Europe are issuing pessimistic verdicts on the TTIP trade deal progressing in its current form.

The prospects for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) are looking increasingly bleak as the bill is facing growing opposition and scepticism from leading government ministers across Europe.

Designed to facilitate the free movement of goods between the US and the EU, the deal has been met with significant criticism from protest groups who feel it hands too much power to multinational corporations, while many European politicians do not feel the terms that have been laid out are sufficiently beneficial to its nations.

US president Barack Obama has been vocal in his support for TTIP, but in the last few weeks a number of statement from high-profile EU ministers have suggested that negotiations have ground to a halt and may not progress without major revisions.

Sigmar Gabriel, Germany's vice chancellor and economy minister, told public broadcaster ZDF: "The talks with the US have de facto failed because we Europeans of course must not succumb to American demands. Nothing is moving forward."

Meanwhile, French prime minister Manuel Valls, said: "The agreement on the table is, under these conditions, unacceptable. We need a clear halt in order to resume from a new basis."

Other ministers who have issued a pessimistic view about the further progress of the TTIP deal include Belgian prime minister Charles Michel, who told L'Echo that the current deal is not balanced enough to drive growth in Europe, while Austria's vice chancellor Reinhold Mitterlehner, said it would be best to "start the entire process afresh".

The progress of TTIP has been dealt a blow by the UK's recent vote to leave the EU, as this has essentially removed one of the deal's key supporters from the equation entirely. Anti-free trade sentiments have also come to the fore during the US election campaign, potentially putting global treaties such as TTIP and the Trans-Pacific Partnership at risk.