EU-US trade talks 'failed', says German minister
The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), a free trade deal being negotiated by the United States and the European Union, has "de facto failed" according to Sigmar Gabriel, Germany's Vice-Chancellor and Economy Minister.
In yet another move casting doubt on the proposed free trade deal, Mr Gabriel said in a radio interview that "nobody is really admitting" that the epic rounds of negotiations have failed.
"The negotiations with the USA have de facto failed because we Europeans did not want to subject ourselves to American demands," he said, according to a written transcript from German broadcaster ZDF. Mr Gabriel said that during the talks neither side had agreed on a single common chapter out of the 27 being deliberated.
The 14th round of negotiations between American and EU officials took place in Brussels in July. It was the third round in six months.
The TTIP is a massive free trade deal that aims to streamline integration between US and EU markets.
If it is passed it will be the world's largest free trade zone and a successful pact is expected to benefit Ireland more than any other EU member state.
Private negotiations over the deal have moved at a glacial pace since it was first drafted in 2013, during which time public criticism has grown in both Europe and the US.
A European 'Stop TTIP' petition has received more than 3.5 million signatures.
And last May, further cracks emerged when France threatened to block the deal.