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GMB Back New Push On EU Trade Rules

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

GMB Back New EU Wide Major Push For EU Trade And Investment Rules That Work For People And The Planet

Due to lack of evidence on benefits and concerns that pact would have a detrimental social and environmental impact the EU/US trade pact negotiations should be abandoned says GMB

GMB is backing a major push by a European alliance of over 50 civil society organisations [1] launching the Alternative Trade Mandate pledge campaign [2], seeking to make EU trade and investment policy serve people and the planet, not just the profit of a few large corporations. GMB want to see current EU/US trade pact negotiations abandoned as part of this push.

The pledge campaign is the result of a four-year process of public workshops held all over Europe during which the Alternative Trade Mandate was developed; it is a 20-page civil society proposal to democratise EU trade and investment policy and put environmental protection as well as human and labour rights at its heart [3]. Some MEPs have already supported the proposal via video messages [4].

On April 2nd and 3rd members of the Alternative Trade Mandate alliance will meet with MEPs and political groups in the European Parliament in Brussels to gather their support to the pledge campaign. At the margins of the EU-Africa Summit (in Brussels today and tomorrow), campaigners will today also participate in a morning protest against the EU’s Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with countries from Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific [5].

As part of the campaign MEP candidates will be asked to support measures that enable people to control their own local food systems as well as core labour standards and human rights’ assessments of EU trade and investment policy. Candidates will also be asked to oppose the controversial investor-state dispute settlement mechanism and to call on the European Commission to immediately publish all texts from trade and investment negotiations with third countries such as, for example, the United States.

The online pledge campaign will run in six EU languages (EN, FR, ES, DE, GR, HU) and will enable activists and citizens to ask candidates to pledge in support of a paradigm shift in EU trade and investment policy. The website will monitor which candidates have supported different parts of the pledge.

Bert Schouwenburg, GMB International Officer, said “ The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership Agreement (TTIP) between US and EU is a case in point. It is not about reducing tariff barriers between Europe and the US. It is primarily about lowering standards of social and environmental regulation, and negotiating ‘investment rights’ in public services and procurement which would limit governments’ abilities to oversee and regulate vital services like health and education. The proposed investor state dispute settlement (ISDS) would allow corporations additional legal power over government policy.

Due to lack of evidence to support the alleged benefits of TTIP for workers, citizens and consumers, and considerable concerns that it would have a detrimental social and environmental impact, TTIP negotiations should be abandoned.”

Lyda Fernanda Forero, of the Transnational Institute, a member of the Alternative Trade Mandate Alliance, said “The EU’s current trade and investment policy is a recipe for disaster for people around the world. The EU is leading an aggressive agenda to open markets for global agri-business. This is wiping out small farmers and is a major cause of hunger. Excessive investor rights take away much needed policy space. We need to break away from this corporate driven agenda,”.

Sergi Corbalán, executive director of the Fair Trade Advocacy Office, a member of the Alternative Trade Mandate Alliance, said “EU trade deals are negotiated behind closed doors in the interests of a few rich corporations. People who are affected by these deals, both in the EU and abroad, are not consulted. We need MEPs to stand up for an open and democratic EU trade policy-making process which is controlled by the people of Europe and their elected representatives, rather than being driven by unelected technocrats and corporate lobby groups,”

Amélie Canonne, co-ordinator of the Alternative Trade Mandate Alliance, said “At a time of multiple global crises, the European Parliament needs MEPs who will support trade rules that work for people and the planet. We need MEPs who will bring trade deals out of the shadows and into the light. We call on MEP candidates to stand up for democratic trade and investment rules that serve people, the economy and the environment at large – not just the profit interests of a few,”


Contact Bert Schouwenburg 07974 251 764 or Kathleen Walker Shaw 07841 181 549 or GMB press office 07921 289880

Lyda Fernanda Forero, Transnational Institute [ES], [EN]



Sergi Corbalán, Fair Trade Advocacy Office [ES], [EN], [FR]

+32 (0) 2 543 19 23,


Amélie Canonne, coordinator of the Alternative Trade Mandate Alliance [FR], [EN]



[1] Current members of the Alternative Trade Mandate Alliance are: Afrika Kontakt (Denmark), Arbeitsgemeinschaft Bäuerliche Landwirtschaft (Germany), AITEC (France), Alternative Trade Network (Greece), Attac Austria, Attac France, Attac Germany, Attac Hungary, Attac Spain, Bothends (Netherlands), CAWN, CNCD (Belgium), Colibri (Germany), Comhlamh (Ireland), Commission of Filipino migrant workers (Netherlands), Corporate Europe Observatory (Belgium), Ecologistas en Accion (Spain), European Milkboard, Fair Trade Advocacy Office (Belgium), Fairwatch (Italy), FDCL (Germany), FIAN Germany, Food & Water Europe, Germanwatch (Germany), GMB (UK), Misereor (Germany), No Patents on Life! (Germany), Oxfam Germany, Philippinenbuero (Germany), Platform Aarde Boer Consument (Earth, Farmer, Consumer – Netherlands), Platform of Filipino Migrant Organisations in Europe, PowerShift (Germany), Seattle to Brussels Network, SOMO (Netherlands), Terra Nuova (Italy), Trade Justice Movement (UK), Transnational Institute (Netherlands), Trocaire (Ireland), Vedegylet (Hungary), War on Want (UK), WEED (Germany), World Development Movement (UK), Za Zemiata (Bulgaria), 11.11.11. (Belgium)

Our supporter organisations: ActionAid Netherlands, Africa Roots Movement (Netherlands), Afrikagrupperna (Sweden), Africa-Europe Faith and Justice Network (AEFJN), Afrikagrupperna (Sweden), ASEED Europe, Attac Denmark, CEE Bankwatch Network (headquatered in the Czech Republic), Clean Clothes Campaign Netherlands, Confédération paysanne (France), Dutch section of Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF – Netherlands), European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU), FAIR TRADE HELLA (Greece), FIOM-CGIL (Metalworkers Federation – Italy), FIAN Netherlands, FNV Netherlands, France Amérique Latine (France), Friends of the Earth Europe, Glopolis (Czech Republic), Hegoa (Spain), Indian Committee of the Netherlands, Milieu Defensie (Netherlands), National Peace and Justice Network (UK), OIKOS (Netherlands), Philippinenbüro (Germany), Platform Aarde Boer Consumer (Netherlands), Platform for an economy based on sustainability and solidarity (Netherlands), Respect Network in Europe, STRO (Netherlands), Supermacht (Netherlands), Traidcraft (UK), Transnational Migrant Platform (TMP), TRUSTED Migrants (Netherlands), La Via Campesina Europe, Wemos (Netherlands), XminY (Netherlands)

[2] Visit the pledge campaign website at:

[3] Download the Alternative Trade Mandate in English (, Spanish (, French ( and Dutch (

[4] Why support the Alternative Trade Mandate? Responses from trade justice activists,

[5] For more information on civil society activities around the EU-Africa summit, see:


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