Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow and trade campaigner Sujata Dey were in Vienna, Austria today.
Barlow and Dey met with members of the Austrian Parliament (Österreichisches Parlament), including members of the SPÖ, the Social Democratic Party of Austria, (that hold 52 seats in the lower house of the parliament known as the Nationalrat or National Council, and 5 seats in the European Parliament) and the GRÜNE, The Greens – The Green Alternative, (that hold 24 seats in the National Council and 3 seats in the European Parliament).
The current Austrian chancellor, Werner Faymann, is a member of the SPÖ. In May 2015, the German-language newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung reported, “Faymann has practiced severe criticism of the planned free trade agreement CETA and TTIP. The planned special rights for groups he considered dangerous… Public courts and the rule of law would be undermined by private arbitration. The ready-negotiated agreement with Canada, he questioned. The results presented by the EU he was not satisfied, he continued, ‘Austria wants an agreement without ISDS’ [investor-state dispute settlement].”
In September 2014, the National Council passed a resolution introduced by the SPÖ and the ÖVP (Austrian People’s Party) stating that there is no need for an investor-state clause in CETA, and that CETA is a mixed agreement and therefore the ratification process must involve all national parliaments. The Greens and the Neos (the New Austria Party) also oppose the investor-state dispute settlement provision in CETA.
Earlier today, FM4 Radio reported, “Many people in Europe are worried about TTIP, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership currently being negotiated with the United States. But there is similar agreement between Europe and Canada called CETA which is much closer to completion and which activist Maude Barlow, National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians, says should worry Europeans just as much as TTIP does.”
To listen to that 4-minute interview, click here.
And the SPÖ im Parlament Facebook page notes, “Canada has 21 years of experience with arbitration, as exists in TTIP. In this time, there were 35 cases in which private companies sued the state. Canada has had to pay millions of euros. ‘The experience of the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada, the USA and Mexico show that there are huge benefits for a small part of society, but not for workers or families. NAFTA brought a deterioration in social and labour rights, as well as food safety’, says Maude Barlow, Canadian writer and activist.”
For more on our campaign to stop CETA, please click here.
Photos: Barlow meeting with SPÖ members today. Barlow and Dey in Vienna.