Europe: EU releases trade deal papers with US
The European Union has released policy papers being used to negotiate a free-trade deal with the United States.
The move is an unprecedented step designed to deflect criticism from anti-globalisation campaigners that Brussels is drawing up the world's largest trade deal in secret.
The papers set out Europe's position in areas ranging from sanitary rules to investment in small companies but do not cover all areas of discussions.
Nor will all the ideas set out necessarily be included in the deal.
But their release marks the most significant step by the EU in its public relations battle with campaigners who are determined to block the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).
"There are lots of myths and misconceptions floating around about what we want to achieve and what is not in the agreement," EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said.
Ms Malmstrom promised to continue to publish the EU's papers as progress is made, after they have been shown to the United States.
Free-trade advocates say the trade agreement will create millions of jobs and serve as a counterbalance to Russian and Chinese power.
Campaigners opposed to the deal say an accord will undermine European food and environmental laws and allow US multinationals to bully EU governments.
A final deal could be concluded by the end of 2015.