Photo: Maude Barlow at the Catalan Parliament in Barcelona interviewed by journalists on CETA. Photo courtesy of Ecologistas en acción.
For anyone following the Canadian- European Union Comprehensive and Economic Trade Agreement (CETA), it is emerging as a nail-biter. Opposition to CETA is strong. Almost 3.5 million Europeans have signed a petition against CETA and TTIP, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with the United States. It will be a close vote that may come before the European Parliament as early as the end of this year, and before the Canadian Parliament early next year.
Given that nothing can be left to chance, Maude Barlow, chair of the Council of Canadians, along with executive director Garry Neil and myself, are returning to Europe to tell people there about Canada’s experience with NAFTA — 350,000 lost manufacturing jobs, rising inequality and 37 challenges under investor state dispute provisions, making Canada the world’s most heavily attacked developed country in 2014.
In Europe, where many people are worried about food security, public services and clean energy, it is important to recognize how much we all have to lose under CETA. In Canada, we have plenty to lose: increased drug costs because of extended patent protections, the loss of buy local programs that ensure local jobs and a shaky future for our automobile, dairy, poultry and egg industries. Both sides lose the ability to set sovereign rules on food and safety regulations. CETA initiates a NAFTA-style process of harmonizing regulations, often coming down to the lowest common denominator And despite our many shared values as Europeans and Canadians, corporations on each side share different values or, more to the point, interests. These interests will be well represented under CETA.
Throughout the tour, Maude Barlow will be talking about her report Fighting TTIP, CETA and ISDS: Lessons from Canada, which has been revised and reissued in English, German, French, Spanish and Polish. It has also been turned into a five-minute short video in English, German, Spanish and French, to be launched with the European Citizens’ Initiative Against TTIP and CETA
Here are some of the plans. Join us if you are hanging around Europe. All times are shown in Central European Time.
April 12, 7pm to 9pm: Warsaw, Poland Lecture and discussion at the Warsaw School of Economics , Szkoła Główna Handlowa, Budynek A, Rakowiecka, 00-001. Organized by the Instytut Globalnej Odpowiedzialności (IGO) (Institute of Global Economy).
April 14, 5pm to 7pm: Vienna, Austria Conference keynote address with Verena Madner, Professor at Vienna Economics University, at Vienna City Hall (Wiener Rathaus), Friedrich-Schmidt-Platz 1 (Eingang Lichtenfelsgasse), Stadtsenatssitzungssaal, 1010 Wien, Organized by Younion, Austrian Chamber of Labour (AK), Austrian Trade Union Federation (ÖGB), VÖWG and Österreichischer Städtebund.
April 18, 6pm to 9pm: Berlin, Germany: Panel Discussion on CETA and TTIP with Sharon Treat, former Maine legislator, Henriette-Herz-Platz 2. Organzed by the Forum Umwelt und Entwicklung and the German Federation of Trade Unions (Deutsche Gewerkschaftsbund, DGB). English to German interpretation provided.
April 19-21: Brussels, Belgium: Meetings with members of the European Parliament.
April 22, 11:30am to 1:30pm: Ljubljana, Slovenia, Debate at the National Legislature with Sharon Treat, former Maine legislator, and Max Bank on CETA and TTIP, Šubičeva ulica 4, 1000. Organized by Umanotera.
April 22, all day: Barcelona, Spain: Attending Pan-European Local Authorities and the New Generation of Free TradeConference. Organized by the Campaign Catalunya NO al TTIP, the Spanish No al TTIP campaign, the Barcelona City Council and the European Working Group.
May 16: London, U.K.: Stay tuned for an event organized by War on Want.
Information on the first tour can be found here.
The tour, reports, and video was made possible through the generous support of the JMG Foundation.