8 February 2015
Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party members Bob Tatam and David Hamilton joined 130 British activists on a trip to Brussels to lobby Members of the European Parliament over the controversial TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership). The group also included members of Global Justice Now, War on Want and 38 Degrees who are worried about TTIP, which is being negotiated in secret and not open to public scrutiny. Nearly 1.5 million people Europe-wide have signed a self-organised petition, the ECI (European Citizens’ Initiative) against the trade agreement. The latest round of negotiations for this ‘free trade deal’ between the EU and the USA began last week in Brussels.
TTIP is one of the most controversial pieces of legislation that the European Commission has aimed to push through. The treaty aims to standardise trade regulations between Europe and the US.
Despite the secrecy of the TTIP negotiations, some of the content has emerged in the public domain: the treaty could lead to a lowering of food standards and safety in Europe as many things that are allowed in the US are currently banned in Europe - like genetically modified food, chlorine-washed chicken and cattle raised with the use of growth hormone chemicals.
The treaty could also detrimentally effect public procurement. At the moment local authorities such as Waltham Forest and Redbridge are able to support local businesses when they are procuring services. However, the treaty would mean that public authorities would not be able to favour local businesses in this way.
Joining activists from across Europe, Mr. Tatam and Mr. Hamilton demonstrated outside the European Commission to convey their strongly-felt opposition. The group met with several MEPs including Jean Lambert, Green MEP for London, who has always strongly opposed the TTIP deal.
David Hamilton stated:
“We felt it was important to go to Brussels to influence the thoughts and votes of our representatives in the EU. There are some crucial votes coming up in Brussels, and there are chances that our MEPs could deliver some serious body blows to TTIP. We also thought it was important to be campaigning in the city, while the negotiators were meeting in secret, to remind them that many people are deeply unhappy about TTIP and the effect of the treaty on people and communities.”