Fury over trade deals rises

9 October 2014 - 4:18pm
Press release

Many people will take to the streets around Britain on Saturday as the public speak out against the controversial Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership in towns and cities across Europe.

The charity War on Want warns that TTIP would cost at least one million jobs between the EU and US and prevent any future UK government repealing the Health and Social Care Act and bringing the NHS back into public hands.

Campaigners from the charity will join a London demonstration, while many other anti-TTIP activists stage protests elsewhere in Britain, ranging far and wide, from Edinburgh north of the border to Brighton on England's south coast.

Tens of thousands of people, with hundreds of organisations in 21 European countries, will oppose the deal.

In addition, the rallies will step up resistance to the similar treaty between the EU and Canada, known as CETA (Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement).

Leaked documents on CETA show the UK is the only member state giving unconditional support for the European Commission in its desire to introduce new powers for business at the expense of democracy and the rule of law.

And another target for the demonstrators will be further international liberalisation, TiSA (Trade in Services Agreement), involving the EU, US, Canada and many other countries.

War on Want executive director John Hilary said: “Civil society across Europe rejects these deals, and we are fighting back on all fronts. We have positive alternatives to this corporate-driven trade model, which is set to undermine peoples' rights, democracy and the environment.”

The TTIP protests in the UK take place only days after Len McCluskey, leader of Britain's largest trade union, Unite, accused business secretary Vince Cable of failing to safeguard the health service against the TTIP threat.

And the demonstrations come a month to the day since the European Commission rejected a proposal from 230 groups, representing millions, to hold a European Citizens' Initiative against the EU deals with the US and Canada.

The coalition is challenging that decision at the European Court of Justice, and is running its own citizens' initiative regardless, which has amassed over 350,000 signatures in just three days.

The European day of action - 300 protests, marches, meetings and flash mobs – is organised by a unique alliance of civil society groups and individuals, social movements, unions, rights defenders, farmers and grassroots activists.

The organisers claim all three deals pose not only threats to healthcare and employment, but also to pay, the environment, food sovereignty and digital entitlements, among other basic rights.

Campaigners point to secret negotiations, increasingly swayed by corporate lobbies, and condemn the notorious system of investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) that TTIP and CETA would introduce.

This system will allow companies investing abroad to sue foreign governments when ministers take actions that affect their expected profits, such as regulatory measures to shield public health or the environment.

Another target is ‘regulatory cooperation', which, opponents argue, will minimise standards that protect the public and the environment on both sides of the Atlantic - a race to the bottom - in order to satisfy industry.

NOTES TO EDITORS 

  • The London demonstration will take place at 2 pm BST on Saturday in Parliament Square at Westminster.
  • The new European Citizens' Initiative can be found at www.waronwant.org/eci

  • Details about other protests in the UK and in mainland Europe at www.stop-ttip-ceta-tisa.eu

     

CONTACT: War on Want media officer Paul Collins (+44) (0)20 7324 5054 or (+44) (0)7983 550728

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