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Barlow tells Merkel ‘free trade’ only serves the interests of billionaires

Maude and Merkel, World Future Council

Photo: World Future Council image.

Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow debated German chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin today.

Der Tagesspiegel reports (in German), “Merkel took an hour to have a discussion with activists from Germany, Kenya and Canada. She defended free trade and even the highly controversial investor-state arbitration courts in the proposed agreements with Canada (CETA) and the USA (TTIP). She said Germany has already benefited from this provision in countries that do not have a free judiciary and that it has prevented expropriations. She is also excited to use professional judges in these arbitration courts given they ‘know the rules of law as well’.”

And Deutsche Welle reports (in German), “Our prime minister would never meet with us, said Maude Barlow, the 67 year old grande dame of the Canadian anti-globalization movement. On the contrary, her group would be considered to be ‘terrorists’ by him. Merkel tried to keep her facial expression under control but when she heard that a short surprised ‘oh dear’ flitted across her face.” That article adds while Merkel defended free trade and investor-state arbitration, “Barlow argued that such agreements served only the interests of billionaires in the world.”

The panel was part of a G7 Civil Society Dialogue Forum hosted by the German NGO Forum on Environment & Development, VENRO (the Association of German Development and Humanitarian Aid NGOs) and the German G7 presidency. It took place in the lead up to the G7 summit on June 7-8 at Schloss Elmau, which is located about 100 kilometres south of Munich.

For more on our campaign against CETA and investor-state, please click here.