Call for TTIP to be scrapped strengthens

(Updated below) A Europe-wide petition calling for a halt to the trade deals being negotiated between the EU and the USA and Canada has reached three million signatures in the space of one year, days before it will be delivered to the European Commission in Brussels. Over 500,000 of the signatures that had been collected were from people resident in the UK.

This morning 3,007,065 had signed the petition saying:

"We want to prevent TTIP and CETA because they 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 petition, which was initiated by a coalition of NGOs, trade unions and consumer groups from across Europe, had originally been intended to act as a European Citizens Initiative, a formal mechanism whereby a petition with a million signatures from seven or more EU states can force the Commission to formally respond to their request and hold a public hearing in the European parliament. In September 2014 campaigners accused the Commission of attempting to 'stifle democracy' after it had ruled the TTIP petition to be invalid on a technicality – a move which is currently being challenged in the European Court of Human Rights.

EU Flags Commission by Sebastien Bertrand (CC-BY-2.0

By Sebastien Bertrand (CC-BY-2.0)

Nick Dearden, the director of Global Justice Now said:

"Three million people demanding an end to the TTIP negotiations shows that the EU does not have the public mandate to continue this deal. People across Europe are standing up to protect our labour rights, our environmental standards and vital public services, like the NHS, from TTIP.  Everything that we know about this secretive trade deal shows that it is very little about trade and very much about enshrining a massive corporate power grab."

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The TTIP negotiations have become increasingly controversial in many different countries. Last week the French trade minister threatened to "call a complete halt" to the process if things didn't change, saying that the "total lack of transparency" posed a threat to democracy.

On Saturday, 10 October,  the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, John McDonnell MP, will be addressing a 'No TTIP' rally in London at Conway Hall, organised by Global Justice Now, War on Want and Friends of the Earth.

UPDATE: Campaigners have reacted angrily to news that the negotiators of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) had reached an agreement in Atlanta, USA following a dramatic, last-minute extension of the talks.

Nick Dearden, the director of Global Justice Now said:

"TPP is a deal for big business. Two fifths of the global economy will be covered by corporate courts, meaning a huge rise in governments being sued for protecting the public interest from corporate greed. Medicine prices will rise as Big Pharma gets more power to monopolise markets. Small farmers will suffer from unfair competition with industrial scale agribusiness. No wonder this has been agreed in secret. There's still hope though, and we look to US congress to stop this toxic deal. "

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