The fight against TTIP is not over ‘till it’s over

The trade deal is in trouble, but could still be imposed costing 150,000 UK jobs

Image: Jakob Huber/Campact  https://www.flickr.com/photos/campact/21885380778

Image: Jakob Huber/Campact

In an excellent article for the Independent this week, John Hilary, Executive Director of War on Want and author of an introductory guide to TTIP, highlighted the continuing opposition to ratification of the trade agreements between the EU and the US (TTIP) and Canada and the EU (CETA) – and the arrogance of EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malmström, who Hilary says is ‘in denial’ for opposing the deals.

Hilary described this month’s leaking of TTIP’s draft chapters as revealing ‘the full threat that it poses’.

President François Hollande and German vice-chancellor Sigmar Gabriel have now broached possibly abandoning TTIP altogether with both countries facing general elections in 2017. As Hilary says, ‘no politician wants to be left defending the indefensible’.

With over 3.4 million citizens from 28 EU member states signing the European Citizens’ Initiative opposing TTIP and CETA, Cecilia Malmström’s boast that she ‘does not take her mandate from the European people’ was added to this week when she told the EU Business Summit in Brussels that she has no intention of submitting TTIP or CETA to public approval.

Rattled by the ongoing resistance, she made further dismissive comments at the widespread local opposition to the trade deals in Belgium, Holland, France and Germany, saying: ‘local opposition is a menace to multilateral agreements.

‘We can’t have local referendums on all trade agreements if we want to be serious. If we do that, we can close the shop.’

While it’s said that the Canada-EU deal is ‘done and dusted’, legal challenges are being mounted in Belgium and Holland against their government’s power to sign CETA, and earlier this week, a group of German NGOs said they would go to the Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe to prove that CETA is against German law.

In John Hilary’s article he points out TTIP and CETA pose massive threats to jobs in the EU.

A report from the European Parliament’s policy department entitled ‘TTIP and Jobs’ predicts that more than a million EU citizens will be forced out of work as a direct result of TTIP, including over 150,000 in the UK.

And the official TTIP impact assessment published by the European Commission confirmed that a minimum of 600,000 Europeans would lose their jobs as a result of TTIP.

As they say, ‘it’s not over until it’s over’.

Tony Burke is assistant general secretary of Unite responsible for manufacturing

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