Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy, Sigmar Gabriel, yesterday received members of the advisory group on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) for a second meeting at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.

The advisory group met to discuss whether and to what extent the trade agreement relates to cultural aspects. Director Rupert Schlegel from the Directorate-General for Trade at the European Commission reported on the current state of the negotiations in this area.

Minister Gabriel said: "The debate in the advisory group was important and showed that many of the fears being voiced in the area of culture are in fact unfounded. The European Commission has made it clear that the European side will not take on any obligations that will have a negative effect on cultural diversity. There is not going to be a wave of complaints from cultural institutions from the US. Cultural subsidies will not be affected, nor will cultural diversity or support for culture in Germany and the EU be jeopardised. Areas such as film and television do not feature in the TTIP negotiations at all. We take the concerns of the cultural associations very seriously and continue to press for greater transparency in the negotiations, for instance for the TTIP negotiating mandate to be made public, so that unjustified fears do not arise in the first place."

The new TTIP Advisory Group is made up of 22 representatives from a broad spectrum of society, including business, science and academia, trade unions, consumers, welfare and environmental organisations, and cultural associations. The group meets to discuss the ongoing TTIP negotiations and helps to establish the German position for the TTIP agreement.