Michelin star chef Kevin Thornton and his kitchen team back in July, taking a stand against GM food and hormone treated meat coming to Ireland. It is feared a new EU – US trade deal could open the door to banned practices such as growing GM crops or treated cattle with hormones.
The European Commission has today rejected a proposal from an alliance of European campaigners to hold a ‘European Citizens’ Initiative’ against the EU-US and EU-Canada trade deals (known as TTIP and CETA). This decision prevents citizens from forcing the Commission to review its policy on the deals and to hold a hearing in the European parliament.
Negotiations on TTIP and CETA deal have provoked strong opposition across Europe, the US and Canada. Campaigners fear these treaties will give unprecedented power to multinational corporations, risking privatisation of public services and dilution of environmental standards and workers’ rights. To express this opposition, over 200 trade unions, social justice campaigns, human rights groups and consumer watchdogs applied for a European Citizens’ Initiative to force a re-think on the deals.
The European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) was created to give European citizens formal petitioning rights over an often unaccountable decision-making process. Citizens who collect one million petition signatures from 7 or more EU states can force the Commission to formally respond to their request and hold a public hearing in the European parliament.
Campaign groups the World Development Movement and War on Want accused the Commission of stifling citizens’ voices on TTIP and CETA.
John Hilary, director of War on Want said:
“This is an outrageous decision by the European Commission. These trade deals are already facing unprecedented opposition for their secrecy and unaccountability, but now we are denied even the right to petition our own EU leaders. An unelected executive, facing growing vocal opposition, has put his hands over its ears.”
Nick Dearden, director of the World Development Movement said:
“Nothing could more clearly show that these trade deals are a disaster for democracy on our continent. The European Union wants to stich this deal together behind closed doors, because if it lets citizens anywhere near it, it won’t be able to control the opposition. But the people of Europe will not have this corporate power grab imposed on them – we will fight against this decision, and we will defeat these trade deals.”
Read the European Commission’s refusal of the proposed European Citizens’ Initiative.