|Green MP Caroline Lucas and anti-TTIP protestors|
The TransAtlantic Trade & Investment Partnership plans for a massive free trade area between the European Union and the USA reach a critical stage next week with a vote in the European Parliament. Negotiated in secret, with MEPs having to go pre-booked into a special room to quickly read updates on the talks, the treat masquerades as a wealth-expanding, job-creating measure. In truth, it delivers what is left of democracy and public services into the hands of profit-seeking multinational corporations, unaccountable to anyone and disinterested in anything other than the company's bottom line. The environment, the people who work for these companies, the people who buy from them and the communities they live in - what protections they have now will be either stripped away outright or whittled away by a process of attrition in the years to come.
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It is also likely to have a big impact by forcing down European standards on public safety, employment rights and consumer protection to the much lower US standards so that it is "fair" to big companies - no thought to European (or American) workers or consumers. Everything from safety protection in the workplace to food standards and mobile phone tariffs could be affected to the disadvantage of ordinary people.
In the European Parliament, and at Westminster, Conservatives, Lib Dems and most Labour politicians have signed up to the TTIP. Opposition has mainly come from the Green Party and, in the EU, its allies in the Greens/EFA, which includes SNP and Plaid Cymru, as well as from the Nordic Green Left. UKIP have been absent from most debates on it - they tend to favour free trade agreements in most circumstances though they may dislike this one purely because of its connections to the EU.
international days of action in recent months and many previous demonstrations. Trade unions, including the AFL-CIO in the USA, have been vocal in their concerns. However, with the negotiations going on in secret and the Governments of nearly all member states signed up to the mantra that all trade is good trade, only the members of the European Parliament are likely to be able to put any block on its passage.
This week may be our last chance to stop this dangerous and potentially irreversible treaty. Green MEPs including England's Molly Scott Cato and Jean Lambert have produced a series of short videos outlining why TTIP matters and why we should be concerned.
If you agree,
- please share the videos (click through to Youtube on each video for the share button)
- please sign the petition on this link HERE (it is now close to the two million signature mark)
- and please write/email/contact your MEPs - details HERE
If you are on Facebook, take a look at Big Bad Law, a Green page taking a slightly satirical but urgent swipe at the TTIP.
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