German protest against TTIP draws 30-90,000

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Jane Arnold

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Apr 27, 2016, 3:05:41 AM4/27/16
to je_a...@yahoo.com
The usual dispute over numbers on a demo - one 'rule of thumb' is to
double the police's estimate! I've added a couple of recent articles
detailing the risks of the TTIP.
C
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http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/thousands-protest-against-trans-atlantic-trade-and-investment-in-germany-ahead-of-obama-visit-a6998201.html

Tens of thousands rally against TTIP deal in Germany ahead of President
Obama visit

Opponents say the trade deal lacks transparency and would increase the
powers of big businesses

May Bulman, Sunday 24 April 2016

Tens of thousands of protesters have demonstrated against the
Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) deal ahead of
Barack Obama’s visit to hold talks over the controversial proposal.

Trade unions, consumer protection groups and environmentalists said they
drew a crowd of 90,000 people to demonstrate on the streets of Hannover on
Saturday, although local police claim it was closer to 30,000.

Protesters carried placards with slogans such as "Yes We Can - Stop
TTIP!". One Greenpeace activist hung himself from a crane to show a poster
reading "Yes, we can stop TTIP!" above the crowds.

The protests highlighted the antipathy towards the proposed free trade
agreement between the US and EU, which opponents say would allow
corporations to cut labour and erode environmental standards.

There is also anger over a supposed lack of transparency over the deal,
with a recent YouGov survey revealing that almost half of Germans and
Americans (48 per cent and 46 per cent respectively) claim they do not
feel sufficiently informed.

Obama's trip was largely intended to boost waning efforts to see the TTIP
finalised before the end of this year.

In a video statement on Saturday, Merkel insisted TTIP would not override
citizens' rights or interests, describing it as a “win-win situation"
that, due to the huge scale of a market involving the US and Europe,
"could set global standards".

But support for the deal among Germans has dropped from 55 per cent two
years ago to just 17 per cent in 2016, according to the YouGov survey
carried out for the Bertelsmann Foundation.

Support in the US has fallen from 53 per cent in 2014 to 18 per cent.

In Britain, more than 150,000 people have signed a petition by campaign
group 38 Degrees urging Mr Obama to quit negotiating the deal with David
Cameron.

The letter addressed to Mr Obama on the 38 Degrees website states:
"British people believe that no trade deal should give corporations more
power than people. There are better ways of working together. Please stop
negotiations of the TTIP trade deal".

Mr Cameron publicly announced support for the deal on Friday following
talks with Mr Obama, insisting TTIP “would add billions to our economies
and set the standards for the rest of the world to follow”.

But scepticism in the face of those arguments is growing in Germany, with
Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel recently admitting: “It is possible that
TTIP will fail.”

Mr Obama's meeting with Angela Merkel marks his last stop on a six-day
trip to Europe. As well as discussing the trade deal, the leaders will be
discussing the Islamic State and the offset of Russian aggression in
Ukraine and Syria.

===============
Another report, quoting 40-90,000:
http://www.activistpost.com/2016/04/thousands-of-germans-protest-ttip-obama.html
And some photos:
http://www.attac.de/kampagnen/freihandelsfalle-ttip/aktionen/hannover-demo-234/

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

Perhaps the most controversial aspect of the TTIP (et al) is the ISDS
mechanism - for Investor-State Dispute Settlement. Under pressure, the EC
has supposedly made some minor adjustments to this, and renamed it. The
following items explain further.
C
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https://www.foeeurope.org/investment-court-system-put-to-test

Investment Court System put to the test: new EU proposal will perpetuate
investors’ attacks on health and environment

19 April 2016

This report shows that dangerous attacks against regulations protecting
the public interest and the environment would not be prevented by the
European Commission’s new investment protection proposals for future trade
agreements.

Developed by Friends of the Earth Europe, Transnational Institute,
Corporate Europe Observatory, the Forum Umwelt und Entwicklung, and the
Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, the report tests the European
Commission’s promise that the Investment Court System, its new framework
for investment protection, will protect governments’ right to regulate.

Five iconic and controversial investor-state dispute settlements, where
environmental and public health protections have been attacked, are
reviewed through the lens of the Investment Court System, promoted during
negotiations on a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP),
the EU-Canada Comprehensive Trade and Economic Agreement (CETA), and the
EU-Vietnam agreement. The report finds that all five disputes could still
happen under the proposal, which falls short of safeguarding governments’
right to regulate.

These cases include:

• Philip Morris vs Uruguay for the introduction of graphic warnings on
cigarette packages and other tobacco control measures to promote public
health;

• TransCanada vs USA for Obama’s decision to reject the Keystone XL
pipeline as part of the US’ commitment to tackle climate change;

• Lone Pine vs Canada for a precautionary fracking moratorium enacted in
Quebec;

• Vattenfall vs Germany for Hamburg city’s imposition of environmental
standards for water use at a coal-fired power plant;

• Bilcon vs Canada for an environmental impact assessment that prevented
the construction of a large quarry and marine terminal in an ecologically
sensitive coastal area.

If the European Commission is serious about its promise to protect
citizens and the environment, it will put an end to parallel arbitration,
starting with the removal of investor-state dispute settlement provisions
– under whichever label – from the TTIP, CETA, and the EU-Vietnam trade
agreements.

The report "Investment Court System put to the test" is here [440K PDF]:
https://www.foeeurope.org/sites/default/files/eu-us_trade_deal/2016/icstest_web_0.pdf

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

Another worthwhile summary, with more examples of TTIP threats and ISDS
actions is: "TTIP: The insidious, global, corporate threat to our human
rights", Lee Williams, 10/12/15
http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/ttip-insidious-global-corporate-threat-our-human-rights-1532784

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