Much Ado About Nothing? A Cri Examination of the Motivation of the European Commission to negotiate TTIP

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The European Commission (EC) started negotiating TTIP in the summer of 2013, and it has argued that it will lead to an increase in income and jobs. However, when taken a closer look at the econometric results this benefit is not so clear. Moreover, there has been a lot of protest from various civil society groups. The question is why the EC is pursuing TTIP despite the contestation and minimal expected economic gains. The literature about TTIP has either focused on the implications of the agreement, or covers mainstream explanations of cooperation in the international arena. However, it fails to look at the agency of the EC and the interests that motivate its behavior. Critical theory has been used in this thesis to fill in that gap, by means of the dialectic relationship between structure and agency. Agency is also given to non-governmental agents. The research has been done by means of the method of abstraction, placing the behavior of the Commission in the historical context. One can say that the Commission’s motivation to negotiate the TTIP has had a lengthy trajectory since the 1990s, pushed by coalition of forces, the transnational capitalist class in particular.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen