TTIP: Three million people sign petition to scrap controversial trade deal

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Jane Arnold

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Oct 8, 2015, 3:14:15 AM10/8/15
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http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/ttip-three-million-people-sign-petition-to-scrap-controversial-trade-deal-a6680411.html

TTIP: Three million people sign petition to scrap controversial trade deal
It will be presented to the European Commission in a few days

Lee Williams @leeroy112 Monday 5 October 2015

A petition demanding an end to the secret Transatlantic Trade and
Investment Partnership (TTIP) has reached three million signatures.

The petition is against the controversial EU-US free trade deal and a
similar deal between the EU and Canada called CETA. Both deals promise to
increase trade by reducing regulatory barriers between trading partners.

But critics point out TTIP’s threat to EU food and environmental safety
laws as well as the sovereignty of national governments, which could be
sued by corporations in secret tribunals called Investor-State Dispute
Settlements (ISDS).

The petition against the deals was launched a year ago by the ‘Stop TTIP’
campaign, a coalition of NGO’s, trade unions and consumer groups. It
reached 3,007,065 signatures this morning, over 500,000 of which came from
the UK.

The appeal, which will be presented to the European Commission in a few
days, states: “We want to prevent lowering of standards concerning
employment, social, environmental, privacy and consumers and the
deregulation of public services (such as water) and cultural assets from
being deregulated in non-transparent negotiations.”

The petition was originally intended to act as a European Citizens’
Initiative, a formal procedure which should demand a response from the EC
if a million signatures are gathered from seven separate member countries.
But the Commission rejected the proposal, a move which is now being
challenged in the European Court of Human Rights.

Handing the three-million-signature petition to the EC should ramp up the
pressure on negotiations already dogged by controversy. Last week the
French trade minister, Matthias Fekl, threatened to pull out of talks
completely saying the "total lack of transparency" around the content of
negotiations posed a "democratic problem".

Nick Dearden the director of Global Justice Now, a campaign group which is
part of the Stop TTIP coalition, said: “Three million people demanding an
end to the TTIP negotiations shows that the EU does not have the public
mandate to continue this deal. People across Europe are standing up to
protect our labour rights, our environmental standards and vital public
services, like the NHS, from TTIP.”

===============

Footnote by LABB

The European Commission has a history of ignoring citizens' concerns:

February 5, 2007 - 1 million Europeans call for GMO labelling on milk,
meat and eggs:
http://www.greenpeace.org/eu-unit/en/News/2009-and-earlier/one-million-petition/

Thu Dec 9, 2010 - One million petition EU to halt GM crop approvals:
http://www.reuters.com/article/2010/12/09/us-eu-gmo-petition-idUSTRE6B82JO20101209

So it will be interesting to see how the European Court deals with this
one.

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