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A petition supported by Friends of the Earth Europe and over 500 European organizations was handed to the European Commission in Brussels, Belgium, on Wednesday, against the free trade agreements negotiated by the European Union (EU) with the US and Canada.
The agreement between the EU and the US is called the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the one between the EU and Canada is the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).
This Saturday marks the beginning in several European countries of eight days of actions and mobilizations against EU trade and investment agreements that threaten the rights of citizens, food sovereignty, jobs and the environment. It is expected that thousands of people will join the protests through October 17, just before the start of a new round of TTIP negotiations in Miami, the US, on the 19.
In addition to the TTIP and CETA, the mobilizations and protests will focus their rejection on the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) and the Transpacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) that has just been signed by numerous states. This is what Natacha Cingotti, Friends of the Earth Europe´s Trade Campaigner, said to Real World Radio.
The “European Citizens´ Initiative” is a mechanism of the UE for citizens to submit initiatives demanding the European Commission to make legislative proposals in the areas of competence of the bloc.
The citizen initiatives need to have the support of at least one million people coming from at least 7 of the 28 member states and a minimum of signatories is required in each of those seven countries.
The European Citizens´ Initiative against the TTIP and CETA widely exceeded these requirements to be considered by political representatives. It also surpassed the minimum number of signatures per country required.
Friends of the Earth Europe has largely denounced the lack of transparency in the TTIP negotiations, its implications against European democracies, the protection of people and the environment and against small-scale farming. They argue that the TTIP responds to the demands and needs of big transnational corporations to the detriment of the possibilities to build sustainable societies.
In the interview with Real World Radio, Cingotti said that both in the US and the EU there is an agenda that seeks to weaken the laws protecting the environment and citizens, and also the possibilities for political representatives to implement laws in this way in the future. It will be much harder to protect the environment and citizens if the TTIP is signed.
The activist of Friends of the Earth Europe also highlighted the aspects of the negotiations related to the investor-state dispute settlement mechanism that aim to protect foreign investors, she said. At the end of the interview, Cingotti also made reference to the TPP and its “dangerous” language that also grants special rights to investors.
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