GENEVA/ BRUSSELS, July 8 – The European Parliament today expressed its support for the TTIP trade negotiations between the European Union and the United States, while the EU delegation’s chair sat empty at negotiations on a legally binding treaty on transnational corporations (TNCs) and human rights at the United Nations in Geneva.

The EU delegation was notable by its absence on day three of the first meeting of the open ended intergovernmental working group, following earlier attempts by the delegation to obstruct and undermine the working group’s efforts. The intergovernmental working group was tasked with elaborating a legally binding treaty on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights[1] .

“People from all over the world are demanding binding rules for TNCs, to stop corporate abuse and prevent further systemic violations, but the EU has tried to get in their way. People have denounced TTIP as a potential disaster for people and planet and the EU ignores them. When people call for a legally binding treaty on TNCs, the EU is not there to listen,” said Lucia Ortiz, International Program Coordinator for the Economic Justice and Resisting Neoliberalism Program with Friends of the Earth International. “EU claims that they are champions of human rights are utterly hollow.”

“The EU has demonstrated its real priorities by effectively attempting to block negotiations on an essential and long overdue human rights treaty, while ignoring persistent calls to scrap an anti-democratic trade deal,” said Anne van Schaik, Sustainable Finance Campaigner with Friends of the Earth Europe. “There can be no doubt that the EU is for profit above people,” she added.

“Childishly obstructing negotiations that could bring justice to millions of people affected by corporate abuse is already indefensible, but to then aggressively fight for a popularly hated trade deal is simply unbelievable,” said Alberto Villarreal, Trade and Investment Campaigner, Friends of the Earth Latin America and the Caribbean.

The EU’s attempts to alter the mandate of the intergovernmental working group and clutter the agenda with discussions covered in other forums failed when no consensus emerged around their demands. The delegation has since been mostly absent while other states continue the vital work of negotiating a treaty to provide access to remedy and justice for people affected by TNC human rights abuses.

Meanwhile, the resolution on the EU-US trade negotiations agreed in the European Parliament today fails to acknowledge growing public concerns or to clearly call for the exclusion of the most dangerous proposals within the talks. The result of the vote is consequently a setback for people, the environment and democracy.

People and civil society organizations are increasing pressure from every angle, despite the EU’s neglect of human rights. A delegation from Friends of the Earth International is present at the talks in Geneva as part of the Campaign to Dismantle Corporate Power and as member of the Treaty Alliance: a movement of over one thousand organizations representing tens of millions of individuals around the world.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Lucia Ortiz, Economic Justice International Program Coordinator, Friends of the Earth International: + 55 48 99150071 or lucia [at] natbrasil.org.br

Alberto Villarreal, Trade and Investment Campaigner, Friends of the Earth Latin America & Caribbean: +41 79 429 4275 or comerc [at] redes.org.uy

Anne van Schaik, Sustainable Finance Campaigner, Friends of the Earth Europe: +31 6 243 43968 or anne.vanschaik [at] foeeurope.org

Or visit Friends of the Earth Internationals page for the Treaty Alliance, the home page of The Treaty Movement and the web site of the campaign “Stop corporate impunity”. More on TTIP in the Friends of the Earth Europe’s article on EU-US trade talks.

NOTES

[1] The open ended intergovernmental working group’s mandate was defined by United Nations Human Rights Council resolution 26/9.

[2] The full text of the draft resolution is available here.

Image: Victor Barro/ Friends of the Earth International