This week, up to 15,000 people took to the streets to protest against TTIP and CETA in Brussels.
It was supported by Friends of the Earth and the European Trade Union Confederation, among other organisations. It follows seven different protests in Germany this week, including in Berlin, Munich and Stuttgart.
TTIP (the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) has been highly contested ever since the EU and USA began negotiating it back in 2013, because it would reduce regulatory barriers for big businesses. These barriers include food safety laws, environmental legislation, sovereign powers, and banking regulations.
There is also another major trade deal in the making between the EU and Canada, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), which is much closer to being signed than TTIP is, and raises similar worries. Opponents say that as a result of the deals, foreign businesses would be able to interfere with countries’ legislation, including being able to sue them if they didn’t like new laws.
During the protest in Brussels, protesters left two inflatable horses outside the European Commission, symbolising TTIP and CETA, and using them to suggest that the new trade deals are Trojan horses being allowed into the EU. Friends of the Earth have been taking the TTIP Trojan horse on a protest tour of the EU.
CETA is due to be signed in October, talks start between the EU’s trade ministers in Bratislava on September 23rd about ratifying it. However, it would have to be ratified by the Canadians, and every EU national parliament, including the UK. As a result of this there is a large chance that it won’t be approved and negotiations will start all over again. A petition against the deal has been signed by over three million Europeans.