Oct 07, 2013
The delay to trade talks between the EU and US, which were due to start in Brussels today, must be used to address the risks a deal represents to people and the environment, says Friends of the Earth Europe.
The negotiations were put on hold on Friday evening when it was announced that the US delegation would not be travelling to Europe due to the current shutdown of parts of the US administration.
Friends of the Earth Europe is highly concerned about the threat the EU-US trade deal – known as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) – poses to environmental, social and consumer standards and safeguards. The group is calling on negotiators to use this delay as 'thinking time' to make sure the interests of people and the environment are given priority over business interests.
Many corporations are already lobbying for a deal that is in their private interests, for example, against measures to prevent the import of dirty tar sands from the US and Canada to Europe, and against EU food protection measures which make it harder for US companies to export GMOs.
Magda Stoczkiewicz, director of Friends of the Earth Europe said: "Decision-makers on both sides of the Atlantic now have extra thinking time and they need to realise that an EU-US trade deal can only help get us out of the economic and climate crises if it has the interests of people and the planet at its heart. Big corporations will undoubtedly be using this delay to continue lobbying for weaker standards, especially on issues related to food, agriculture, chemicals and energy. Our health and safety must not be traded away for an agreement that would mainly profit big corporations or limit states’ ability to regulate."
Friends of the Earth Europe insists that, as part of the deal, companies and investors should not receive excessive rights to legally challenge democratically adopted measures through a so-called ‘investor state dispute settlement’. It says a partnership should only be agreed if it results in higher standards for the environment, safety and consumer protection and if the ability of governments to make new legislation is not weakened.
The group is also concerned about the lack of transparency of the negotiations so far and is calling for the public to be given access to negotiation documents.
The following briefings on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) have been published today by Friends of the Earth Europe:
'Trading away our future?' briefing on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP): www.foeeurope.org/sites/default/files/foee_briefing_ttip_oct13.pdf
'How fair and sustainable food and farming could be permanently damaged by a transatlantic trade deal' briefing: www.foeeurope.org/sites/default/files/foee_iatp_factsheet_ttip_food_oct13.pdf
'The risks of including an investor-to-state dispute settlement in transatlantic trade talks' briefing: www.foeeurope.org/sites/default/files/foee_factsheet_isds_oct13.pdf
The environmental education center for Friends of the Earth has been honored by Hostelling International
As Corcerizas wins an international award for sustainability
The environmental education center for Friends of the Earth, As Corcerizas, has been one of the international winners of the Hostelling International Award for projects aimed at improving natural heritage through reducing carbon emissions. The prize of 24,800 pounds (about 30,000 euros) will make As Corcerizas an energy island through the winter months.
As Corcerizas has been chosen as a winner, taking second prize, from a selection of hostels from all around the world belonging to the international network of youth hostels. The final vote was between 15 finalists from participating countries such as the U.S. , Brazil and China. The three initiatives with the most votes were the winners of the prizes from the network, enabling them to improve the sustainability of its facilities and surroundings: Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States [1 ] .
The award endorses the implementation of a project presented by Friends of the Earth which proposes the installation of a wind turbine and the construction of a heated cob wall as radiation system. A program for schools to minimise their carbon footprint in order to tackle climate will also be developed.
At the Friends of the Earth hostel all energy production comes exclusively from renewable energy, and so it is able to operate outside the conventional electricity grid, forming what is known as an "energy island" in virtually every month of the year. The problem was that in winter the sun and the flow of water coming from the small reservoir in the Sierra de San Mamede would sometimes not be enough to cover the entire building's electrical demand. Thanks to this award As Corcerizas will be entirely solidified as an energy island, serving as an example of sustainability not only in Spain, but also at a worldwide level.
" This award recognizes the work of all workers and volunteers and for their professionalism, effort and motivation which has managed to push through a project which is 100% renewable and democratic. This is how we are proving the viability of a center that operates outside of the electricity grid. We want to thank all the people who have supported As Corcerizas and have made utopia a reality," stresses Analia Moares, responsible for the center.
Promotional video: ( English)