As the next round of negotiations on the controversial Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) trade deal begin in Brussels, a delegation of over 100 campaigners will take part in an anti-TTIP demonstration and meet up with England’s three Green MEPs this Wednesday. The delegation is made up of people from all parts of the UK, representing a variety of concerns about the potential adverse impacts of the trade deal.
Several activists from campaign group Frack Free Somerset are part of the delegation and are concerned that if TTIP was implemented, fracking companies would be more likely to drill for shale gas in the South West region. Group spokesperson, Louise Somerville Williams, said:
“If TTIP is passed it would have enormous consequences on so many aspects of our lives, from the food we eat to our public health services. Ordinary people from across the UK are travelling to Brussels to make their voices heard. Democracy is about what’s best for everyone, not what’s best for the world’s richest and most powerful corporations. The TTIP deal is a hijack of democracy, and we need to stop it.”
The three MEPs, Jean Lambert, Molly Scott Cato and Keith Taylor, who will meet the group on Wednesday, issued a statement of support for the delegation:
“We are delighted to welcome this delegation to Brussels. Greens have been at the forefront of the campaign against TTIP in the European Parliament because the deal will bring us a step closer to corporations writing laws instead of Governments. The depth of opposition is shown very clearly by the more than one million European citizens who have signed a petition against the deal”.
The visit by campaigners is being coordinated by Global Justice Now, a campaigning organisation that is part of a Europe-wide coalition of NGOs, trade unions and activist groups who are opposing the trade deal. The European Commission recently published the results of a public consultation on TTIP which revealed that 97% oppose the inclusion of Investor-state Dispute System (ISDS) within TTIP. It is the ISDS mechanism that is perceived by many as the real threat to democracy, potentially granting corporations the right to sue governments over laws which affect their profits.
Green MEP Jean Lambert has recently published a booklet of essays which bring together different groups opposing TTIP, including voices from the health service, the trade justice movement, and advocates of digital rights. Molly Scott Cato MEP and Keith Taylor MEP have also contributed to this publication: http://www.jeanlambertmep.org.uk/2015/01/30/whats-wrong-ttip-voices-opposing-eu-us-trade-agreement/