Leaked trade papers: EU backtracks on transparency and environment pledges

Brussels/Amsterdam, 23 June 2017 – Greenpeace Netherlands is releasing 205 pages of previously undisclosed chapters from secret talks for an EU-Japan trade agreement (known as JEFTA).

The papers expose the failure of the European Commission and European governments to stick to their commitments on transparency, warned Greenpeace.

The leaked papers, which can be found on, expose a lax approach to environmental protection, despite Commission assurances that it would uphold the highest standards in EU trade agreements, said Greenpeace.

Greenpeace trade policy campaigner Kees Kodde said: “The leaked papers show that the EU and European governments are still doing secret trade deals that trample all over the environment, despite promising that they wouldn’t. After millions of people opposed trade deals with Canada and the US because of their impact on democracy and the environment, the Commission has learnt nothing from its mistakes. To broker trade deals that benefit society and nature, the EU must stand by its values and principles, not sacrifice them for the sake of a handful of multinationals. Trade must not be an end in itself, but a means to achieve social and environmental wellbeing that keeps us within our planetary boundaries. It’s time for a new approach to trade that protects people and planet.”

New approaches to trade will be the focus of discussions on the future of EU trade policy with NGOs, policymakers and experts at the Trade Lab, an event organised by ten civil society organisations in Brussels on 26 June. Greenpeace has laid out ten principles for a fairer trade policy that upholds social and environmental standards.

The JEFTA papers leaked by Greenpeace Netherlands are mostly dated between late 2016 and early 2017, just ahead of the 18th round of negotiations. Negotiators hope to wrap up the new deal over the coming weeks. If it is concluded, the agreement with Japan could be the EU’s biggest ever trade deal, covering a trade volume twice as large as the trade agreement with Canada (known as CETA).

For more information on the leaked papers, please consult the media briefing.

Kees Kodde – Greenpeace trade policy campaigner: +31 (0)6 53623818,
Milo Laureij – Greenpeace communications: +31 (0)6 29001159,

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Greenpeace is an independent global campaigning organisation that acts to change attitudes and behaviour, to protect and conserve the environment and to promote peace. Greenpeace does not accept donations from governments, the EU, businesses or political parties.