By Jonathan Davies

"Huge scepticism" in Europe has stalled crucial negotiations over the major trade deal between the EU and the US, the European Commission has said.

The Commission said that investor protection, one of the deal's most controversial areas, where independent tribunals could be used to overrule national policy, was met with huge criticism.

Negotiations over the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership Agreement (TTIP) are continuing, but talks of the investor protection have been suspended.

Figures by the European Commission suggest the TTIP could boost the EU economy by €120bn (£94bn; $152bn) and the US by €95bn. But there are fears that it could damage European standards.

In particular, those opposed to the deal in the UK fear that it could be used to privatise the NHS, opening the door to American companies.

The European Commission said 35% of the respondents to the consultation were from the UK, the highest number from any one country.

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