By Carey Wedler
Over the weekend, thousands of protesters across multiple countries condemned impending trade deals promoted by governments and their corporate partners.
Though the protests received little coverage from mainstream media, they stretched from Paris to Warsaw.
The demonstrations came amid the Commission on International Trade of the European Parliament’s plans to finalize the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) this week. The policy has been likened to so-called “free trade” deals pushed by President Barack Obama and other Western governments.
CETA, which has been in the works for seven years, would eliminate tariffs between Canada and European nations, which proponents argue would foster increased trade and create jobs. Nevertheless, the deal has been criticized for granting too much power to multinational corporations, the Guardian reports.
Though the European Commission recently drafted a statement claiming “environmental and health standards will not be diluted,” not all policymakers are convinced.
Passage of CETA hit a roadblock after the parliament of the Wallonia region of Belgium rejected it. Wallonia’s minister-president, Paul Magnette, vowed to block the entire country from ratifying the deal. This has proponents of CETA concerned about the agreement’s future, as all 28 member states of the European Union must unanimously agree on it before it can be further negotiated and ratified.
As the Independent reported, opponents claim it will “set a dangerous precedent and be used as a template to push through the controversial EU-US trade deal, TTIP.”
TTIP is another loathed trade deal that has been in the works for years; it was also the target of protests over the weekend, as CETA has been heavily compared to it. TTIP is “a bi-lateral trade agreement [that is] about reducing the regulatory barriers to trade for big business, things like food safety law, environmental legislation, banking regulations and the sovereign powers of individual nations,” the Independent has explained.
TTIP is also expected to encroach on online privacy, increase unemployment rates, and undermine democracy by “allow[ing] companies to sue governments if those governments’ policies cause a loss of profits.”
France 24 reports police claimed 1,200 protesters assembled in Paris on Saturday to oppose to deal, though organizers of the event claim the figure was closer to 5,000. Protests also took place in Lyon and Toulouse.
“‘The European governments must today hear the refusal of their people,’ said Attac, an international movement seeking alternatives in the globalisation process, and one of the main organisers of the protest in Paris on Saturday,” France 24 reported.
Thousands also protested in Spain and Belgium, according to France 24. Telesur reported that protests also took place in Germany and other countries affected by the deals.
Further, hundreds of protesters in Warsaw, Poland, expressed concerns that passage of CETA would “allow an influx of food from North America that will destroy local farming, and also hurt consumers by allowing in foods that are genetically modified,” the Chicago Tribune reported. France 24 reported a higher number of demonstrators, noting 1,000 gathered in Warsaw while hundreds more demonstrated in Krakow.
Also on Saturday, activist lawyer group ClientEarth filed a lawsuit against the European Commission regarding the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) and the Investment Court System — the specific TTIP components that would allow corporations to sue governments for lost profits.
The protests follow massive demonstrations in September that saw thousands march on E.U. headquarters in Brussels. The sentiment has not waned.
“We don’t want TTIP, CETA,” Warsaw protesters chanted over the weekend.” Human souls first and profits later.”
This article (Media Silent as Anti-Corporate Trade Deal Protests Take Europe by Storm) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Carey Wedler and theAntiMedia.org. Anti-Media Radio airs weeknights at 11 pm Eastern/8 pm Pacific. Image credit: CETA und TTIP stoppen. If you spot a typo, please email the error and name of the article to email@example.com.
Best news I’ve come across in a long time – true activism, hope this grows. Thank you for reporting this.
Ralph Nader words of wisdom:
“Trade agreements don’t stick to trade…they colonize issues of grave concern (in terms of health safety, and livelihoods)…and they do that by subordinating consumer, environmental, and labor issues to the imperatives and the supremacy of international commerce. That is exactly the reverse of how democratic societies have progressed, because over the decades they’ve progressed by subordinating the profiteering priorities of companies… Trade treaties do just the opposite: it’s workers and consumers and environments that have to KNEEL BEFORE this GIANT PEDESTAL of commercial trade and prove that they are not, in a whole variety of ways, impeding international commerce…so this is the road to DICTATORIAL DEVOLUTION of democratic societies: because these trade agreements have the force of law, they’ve got enforcement teeth, and they bypass national courts, national regulatory agencies, in ways that really reflect a massive, silent, mega-corporate coup d’etat…”
Nailed that as well …all ‘wolves in sheep’s clothing’ surrounding their NWO Trojan Horse …wanting to ingratiate themselves as the purveyors of a New Cage transhumanist future [sic]… a bear trap without the honey… morphing & transmogrifying daily into a new Dark Age of abject tyranny…’unfuknbeeeleevably believable’ at this point in time…& very few saw it coming pre 9-11.
just got monitored by the stasi AP crew AGAIN…& it makes Derrick Bose as one of the founder’s of AP …look like a supreme 2-faced Janus hippocrite in league with the devil himself
Yep, I was replying and told I can’t reply to a post that’s not active. Can’t have two functioning brains communicating. Oh my gosh!
Here’s my non PC reply. “Friends” like that see to it that witnesses (UN dude, email-gate) “accidentally” die from a barbell falling and crushing their windpipe. Very Godfather horse-head-in-bed-esque. Oops, I’m getting too dark here, sorry. Of course, point is we can’t allow sicko pols and their handlers to lord over humanity via trade treaties.
at least we got quantum synchronicity -LOL!
I was thinking exactly along the same lines. There’s a fear two hyper awake entities will converge into a black hole field devouring the nwo. They are grateful you are not in my close proximity. lol
Hillary Clinton in her own words:
“My dream is a hemispheric common market, with open trade and open borders, some time in the future with energy that is as green and sustainable as we can get it, powering growth and opportunity for every person in the hemisphere.”
[05162013 Remarks to Banco Itau.doc, p. 28]
Spoken like a true globalist.
And what do you have against green & sustainable energy? Are you afraid of the damage it will do to your fossil fuel portfolio? (Dinosaurs must die.)
You’re missing the whole point. HRC has done absolutely nothing to make “green and sustainable” a reality. She is a paid shill for Monsanto, GMO, Big Ag, Big Chemical and every polluting corporation on the planet. She is a paid shill for every Global Corporation using and growing rich off slave labor. Open your eyes!!! In the world of HRC, only HRC and those who own her get rich. HRC has never, ever done anything to improve the life of anyone who is not in a position to pay her.
I get that, and the fact the corporatocracy is the enemy/bugaboo. Well if HRC wins then at least Bernie will be writing the budget, not Paul Ryan (my district congressman.) But consider that Trump’s Energy pick is the leading lobbyist for the fracking industry and his economic team are mostly other billionaires, whose policy you can be sure will enrich themselves in bold & brazen new ways. This problem of the revolving door between corporations, politicians, and gift-giving, has been with US since the founders. J.Abramoff, the lobbyist who went to prison, has had a reformation and said the only cure is removing ALL private money & gifts to politicians, even so much as a free meal. I don’t need to be a farmer and while I respect farmers, doesn’t mean I buy into their every political opinion or view. The majority of Americans are not farmers.
Of course, the agrarian life in the US represents a single digit today? I engaged in organic farming and made about 10 cents/hour. As a young person, I remember everyone would have been scandalized if a politician or official was on the take, even small stuff. Today, who isn’t on the take, taking and demanding? All of the groups opposing Citizens United and wanting to eliminate lobbyists are getting almost no where.
It’s a measure of the corruption of the US corporate media that there hasn’t been a word about these fascist “trade” deals in months. These are the most profound trade policy changes in history, and the mass media gives us a steady diet of sports and celebrity gossip.
This is something new to Canada. We are not used to being protested against. We actually believed that this new trade treaty would be good for both sides of the agreement.