Three York campaigners have just returned from lobbying and fact-finding in Brussels. The visit coincided with the latest negotiations on the secretive Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership at the European Commission. The York No To TTIP members met MEPs and pushed them to reject the controversial deal.
The trio joined a 129-strong UK delegation organised by Global Justice Now. On Wednesday they protested outside the European Commission alongside activists, unions and environmental groups from across Europe. The centre piece was a giant inflatable ‘Trojan Horse’, representing the hidden damage contained within the trade agreement.
“It was a hectic two days, but a great opportunity to see the scale of corporate lobbying in Brussels, as well as meet decision-makers”, said Hazel Palmer. “Whilst TTIP sounds abstract, I’m particularly concerned that it will permit allow harmful chemicals into the food in our supermarkets”.
Labour’s lead MEP on TTIP, David Martin, told the delegation his party are working to exclude the NHS and social care from the deal, to protect them from privatisation. Delegates were concerned that, by pushing for compromises in the deal, Labour risked endorsing the underlying principles of TTIP, which will undermine UK democracy by handing more power to banks and corporations.
Green MEP Keith Taylor warned that even the Investor State Dispute Mechanism, whereby corporations can sue governments for loss of hypothetical future profits, may well return in the final draft. Recently the Independent reported that this had been removed from the agreement, owing to public pressure.
York residents will have a chance to quiz local MPs Sir Hugh Bayley and Julian Sturdy at a ‘TTIP Question Time’ later this month. The event is being hosted by York No To TTIP at Friends Meeting House, Friargate on Friday 20th February at 7pm.