BRUSSELS – About 6 000 people – according to the police, but other reports indicate 15 000- demonstrated this Tuesday in Brussels, around the European institutions to denounce the Free Trade Agreement being negotiated between European Union (EU) and the United States, as well as the one recently concluded with Canada.
AFP reported that a coalition of non governmental organizations, leftwing parties and unions called to protest in Brussels, three days after demonstrations in Germany for the same reasons brought together between 160 000 and 300 000 people.
“We do not want neither TTIP nor CETA” shouted the demonstrators in reference to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiated with the United States and the one with Canada, Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), which is still to be ratified by the parliaments of the European bloc.
I’m convinced that we’ll be the losers. This is going to throw the agricultural market off balance”, considered Stéphane Delogne.
“These anti-democratic transatlantic deals (...) will benefit especially the shareholders of multinational companies and the financial world powers, affecting farmers, consumers, workers and pensioners, women and youth, (Pymes) small and mid-sized companies and the middle-class, “Stop TTIP” organization denounced on its website.
The two agreements seek the supression of trade barriers in both sides of the Atlantic and point to an almost complete relaxing of trade restrictions.
Its detractors fear that it affects social, sanitation and environmental norms. The creation of a mechanism for the solution of investment differences is also opposed in some European countries, since according to its opponents it would undermine public authority over multinational companies.
German chancellor Angela Merkel defends the ongoing negotiation with the United States, despite the opposition which has gained attention in her own Government. For its part, France favors the agreement with Canada, but opposes the one with the United States.
A new round of talks between EU and the United States will take place in early October.
“TTIP and CETA will favor Pymes exports. It’s a response to the economic crisis” said European Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmstrom. The 28 EU members gave the European Commission green light to negotiate with Washington.
Translated by ESTI