More than 250 ‘citizens’ organisations’ from 22 European countries have joined forces to oppose two controversial transatlantic trade deals currently being negotiated by the European Union.
Organisers of Stop TTIP are calling on people from across the continent to sign an online petition against the two “massive trade deals” described as “the biggest corporate power grab in history”.
The European Citizens’ Initiative Against TTIP and CETA is aiming to collect more than one million signatures to support its call for “the institutions of the European Union and its member states to stop the negotiations with the US for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and not to ratify the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with Canada”.
The organisers say the treaties “read like a corporate wish-list: secret courts that can sue our governments, the removal of environmental and health regulation and the degradation of working standards.
“The big losers of the deals: ordinary people, like you and me.”
According to the petition, the deals “include several critical issues such as investor-state dispute settlement and rules on regulatory cooperation that pose a threat to democracy and the rule of law. We want to prevent lowering of standards concerning employment, social, environmental, privacy and consumers and the deregulation of public services (such as water) and cultural assets from being deregulated in non-transparent negotiations. The ECI supports an alternative trade and investment policy in the EU.”
So far only corporate lobbyists have had access to the negotiations – “scuttling around Brussels to get their corporate agenda into the treaties” – but the ECI believes a petition of more than one million signatures from EU citizens will embarrass the European Commission.
“It will be another failed attempt on their part to silence the voices of the people against TTIP. And we won’t stop at one million signatures. This will be the biggest self-organised European Citizens’ Initiative ever.
“The true beauty of this initiative is its diversity. People from different places, speaking different languages and with different experiences all unite to stop the biggest corporations from taking advantage of us. This is your chance to be part of something incredibly powerful.”
A European day against the deals was held on 11 October when organisations staged protests around the continent to collect signatures.
Stop TTIP’s many partner organisations include the UK online protest group, 38 Degrees, a number of UK unions such as Unison and PCS, plus the Green Party, War on Want and Friends of the Earth.