Did you think the Budget was the only important thing that happened yesterday (July 8)? Think again.
The European Parliament had its first-ever vote on the controversial TTIP trade deal between the EU and the United States – and, thanks to British Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, it went against the will of the people.
Millions of us, across Europe, have demanded the removal of part of the proposed partnership agreement that allows corporations to take legal action against national governments if they pass laws that inhibit the firms’ profit-making ability.
But a compromise on the controversial Investor-State Dispute Settlement mechanism (ISDS) secured a majority, with help from the UK’s Liberal Democrat and Conservative MEPs.
It was opposed by Labour, Green, Plaid Cymru, SNP and UKIP MEPs
Stronger amendments, that were opposed to ISDS altogether, were kept off the agenda by procedural manoeuvres – leading to EU President Martin Schulz being accused of “shredding the rules of procedure”.
Nick Dearden of Global Justice Now said: “The only reason that MEPs are still trying so desperately to push this through is because of the enormously powerful corporate lobby machine in Brussels. TTIP is fundamentally an issue of people and democracy versus encroaching corporate power.”
Campaigning group 38 Degrees released a press release stating: “We know exactly what the corporate lobbyists writing this deal want: they want us to go quiet.”
Instead, the group is proposing a series of actions to ramp up the pressure:
- Another huge national day of action. “Enormous public pressure has been a huge factor in causing chaos around TTIP so far. We know that as soon as people get the facts, outrage follows. The more people that know, the more worried decision makers will be.”
- Commission an expert report on TTIP, to throw in the face of anyone who says it is a good idea. “It’d give us a valuable chance at media coverage, and we can take out adverts in newspapers and online to expose the findings.”
- Meet face-to-face with MPs to ask them directly where they stand on TTIP “and what they’ll do to represent the British public’s opposition.”
- Get ready for MEPs to come back from their summer holidays and be ready to pile the pressure on them again. “As soon as they’re back, they need to be reminded about TTIP. We need to make sure that whenever the next vote is, we’re ready to step in.”
“To be honest, this is probably one of the hardest issues 38 Degrees members have ever taken on. Many people hear “trade deal” and their eyes glaze over. The acronyms and figures that fly out of the mouths of TTIP officials are designed to get people to switch off,” the 38 Degrees press release states.
“But when people like us hear what’s going on and choose to stand up, that changes everything. TTIP has gone from zero public awareness to huge public outrage. There’s plenty more we can do together to stop this awful deal.”
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