Friends of the Earth Europe: citizens unite against faltering trade deals
EU officials continue to ignore the unprecedented public opposition to the proposed deals, but ongoing TTIP talks are in a dire state, writes Natacha Cingotti, trade campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe.
A European week of actions (10-17 October) against toxic trade deals is underway, illustrating the ever-growing public mobilisation against Trojan Horse treaties such as the EU-US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).
For all of us involved in the public mobilisation against the dangerous threats posed by the EU-US negotiations and the proposed EU-Canada deal pose, this is a week to celebrate and be inspired.
What exactly are we celebrating? First of all, the amazing success of the self-organised European Citizens Initiative, which was launched one year ago against both TTIP and CETA. The immense work done by more than 500 civil society groups and activist movements has resulted in the collection of three million signatures by individuals all across Europe – an unprecedented success in the battle against the corporate-led agenda of EU trade negotiations.
Second, the success of the ECI illustrates the fast growing level of public awareness and mobilisation against the many dangers of the proposed TTIP and CETA deals, as well as free-trade agreements in general.
To date, Friends of the Earth Europe’s giant inflatable Trojan horse has toured over 20 countries and countless town and cities. Every time the horse has shown up on a public square, it has been accompanied by an incredible number of events (from media stunts to public events, or demonstrations) organised by local communities and promoting citizen-led alternatives to free-trade agreements.
In the meantime, hundreds of municipalities and local councils have declared themselves TTIP-free, including Brussels, where trade policies are being shaped. Such levels of public interest and engagement have come as a blow to EU trade officials who are used to designing and deciding on trade deals behind closed doors.
Added to this, our member groups have been standing in full solidarity with many other social movements across Europe for this week’s International Days of Action, joining hundreds of thousands of people on the streets and mobilising online in a united rejection of the dangers of the trade deals.
In Berlin, over 250,000 people joined an incredible protest last Saturday, while over 7,000 took to the streets of Amsterdam, along with actions in Copenhagen, Sofia and many other major European cities.