(AE) USA: Resistance to TTIP remains strong

Brussels, 10/12/2014 (Agence Europe) – While new European Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström continued her visit in Washington on Tuesday 9 December to relaunch the process of the free trade negotiations between the EU and US, the coalition of those opposing TTIP showed, in Brussels the same day, that resistance to the trade talks remains strong.

Protesters from the Stop TTIP coalition took symbolic action in front of the European Commission headquarters on Tuesday, giving European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker a birthday card (for his 60th birthday) signed by a million people. Bringing together over 300 civil society organisations in 24 EU countries, Stop TTIP launched a petition calling for an end to the TTIP talks and also for a block to the free trade agreement with Canada (CETA) and to the negotiations for the trade in services agreement (TiSA). Their protest document has received over a million signatures in just two months.

“Mr Juncker must remain faithful to his promise to be at the service of the common good and European citizens. European citizens don't want these secret agreements any longer. What serves the common good is protecting crucial public services and standards on the environment, labour and health against commercial interests”, said Michael Efler, the Stop TTIP spokesperson. In November, the coalition went to the Court of Justice against the Commission's rejection of its request for European citizens' initiative status, which would have forced the Commission to review its trade policy.

On Tuesday, together with progressist think tank Transnational Institute, the GUE/NGL Group at the European Parliament organised a conference aiming to “ensure that ruling elites see that there is resistance to their policies”. “TTIP is an important focal point of our protest, but at the same time we must also fight TiSA, CETA and the TPP [Trans-Pacific Partnership]. All these agreements are a threat to transparency and democracy and are designed to reinforce a transatlantic power block that favours corporate power over people”, said Gabi Zimmer (Germany), the leader of the GUE/NGL Group. “The fight is not just about trade – it's about democracy, social rights, the environment and cultural diversity. In short, it is about how we want to live in future”, Zimmer stated.

Protesters, national and regional parliamentarians, unionists and civil society representatives from both sides of the Atlantic took part in this conference alongside the representatives from the GUE/NGL members of the European Parliament's international trade committee – Helmut Scholz (Germany), Anne-Marie Mineur (the Netherlands) and Eleonora Forenza (Italy) – and Michael Efler from Stop TTIP. (EH)

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