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Europe and America have been working on a major trade deal for the past few years. The Transatlantic trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP for short) is an ultra secret trade deal that would reduce barriers between the two largest economies of the world. The trade deal has been met with controversy, over fears that it will reduce good jobs and lower safety standards in Europe. There have been a few leaks, so we are finally putting it together, but who knows what else is included that has yet to be leaked.

Obviously, with a trade deal as big as this, the people have a right to know exactly what it says as it will greatly impact their lives. However the authors of TTIP disgree with this, and they have worked hard to keep the contents secret.

Earlier this month, European Parliament member Luke Flanagan recorded a video of the process to get access to the TTIP reading room, where parts of the trade deal could be read.

The rules are extremely restrictive:

  • They provide paper, and all you can bring in is a pen
  • No cameras or tape recorders
  • You must leave all electronic devices in a locked cupboard outside the room
  • A “minder” will remain with the MEP during the entire reading period
  • You must sign a document that says they will not tell people “in detail” what is in the room.
  • If you do not sign the document, no MEP will ever see the documents again
  • An alarm will sound if you do not enter the room very quickly, and security will come
  • You are required to sign a document that says that you will not share the information verbatim. AKA, you will have to write down notes in your own words. You cannot copy the words of the agreement.

Honestly, this would be quite funny if it was not so horrifying. This is a trade deal to link two of the biggest democracies on Earth, and this is what democracy gets. When you watch the video, it feels like he is trying to read the files on Area 51, not read a trade deal between two economies. So we must all sit back and wait, and if this trade deal is ratified, we will finally get to see what we voted for.