Barlow challenges CETA & TTIP in Europe

Barlow fighting CETA and TTIP in Ljubljana and Berlin.

Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow has just completed an 11-day intervention in Europe to strengthen opposition to the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) and the United States-European Union Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) among the general public, social movement allies, and elected political representatives.

Her itinerary included:
April 12 – a lecture and discussion at the Warsaw School of Economics
April 14 – a keynote address at a conference in Vienna organized by the Austrian Trade Union Federation and others
April 18 – a panel discussion on CETA and TTIP in Berlin organized by the German Federation of Trade Unions and others
April 19-21 – meetings with Members of the European Parliament in Brussels
April 22 – a debate at the Slovenian national legislature in Ljubljana.

On April 15, a media release in German distributed by APA-OTS (Austria's largest distributor of media releases) noted, "On April 14, the risks [of CETA and TTIP] were discussed. Experts like Barlow and Verena Mader (Vienna University of Economics) talked at Vienna City Hall with representatives from politics, administration and a very interested audience. ...CETA is considered a blueprint for TTIP. Barlow fights against environmental degradation, water privatization and investor lawsuits. She says Canada has found itself confronted with Canada saw himself confronted with multiple claims by foreign investors under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between the USA, Canada and Mexico. She warned Europeans not to make the same mistake."

On April 17, the Polish-language news service Interia Fakty reported, "Barlow was in Warsaw this week at the invitation of the non-governmental Institute of Global Responsibility. She spoke, among others, about CETA and TTIP. According to her, both CETA and TTIP require very careful analysis. She noted that on paper the deals may appear to benefit both sides evenly, but in her opinion they are not equal - the deals only strengthen big business and weaken small states. She noted too that Canada has had 37 lawsuits against it by international companies."

On April 18, the German-language Berliner Zeitung reported, "NAFTA is anything but worthy of imitation, at least from the perspective of environmental and consumer protection across the Atlantic. 'We would like to warn all Europeans who care about the health of the population, the future of public services, the protection of nature and the self-determination of the people at heart', said Barlow, on the occasion of a meeting with German CETA - and TTIP opponents on Monday in Berlin."

On April 19, the German-language Austrian newspaper Der Standard carried a feature interview with Barlow. That interview included:
Q: "German Chancellor Angela Merkel believes free trade is always good. Is free trade because always negative?"
A: "I'm not against trade, but 'free trade' is a problem. The economy must serve people, not vice versa. When corporations talk of free trade, they mean freedom for themselves and not for the rest of us. We have lived in Canada under NAFTA for 22 years and none of the promises of wealth and jobs have come true."

On April 19, Polskie Radio posted a ten-minute interview with Barlow. The Polish-language radio station noted in its introduction to that audio interview, "Barlow criticized TTIP [emphasizing] that it is only large corporations for further enrichment and strengthening of its influence, and poorer countries will lose it. She argued that NAFTA, the agreement between the US, Canada and Mexico that forms between these countries free trade zone, is very unfavorable to the latter, the poorest of the three countries."

On April 21, Slovenian-based STA reported, "Participants of a high-profile panel debate on the right to drinking water in Slovenia chaired by Barlow agreed in Ljubljana on Thursday that inclusion of the right to drinking water in the Constitution is only the first step towards full protection."

And on April 22, the Polish-language newspaper Gazeta Prawna published a feature length interview with Barlow. That interview included:
Q: "You have a mission?"
A: "I have. At least two reasons. First - this is the mission of my organization Council of Canadians. Second - because I live in the zone of NAFTA for 22 years. I know what's hidden under this agreement, and I want to share this knowledge. And to warn against the consequences of the introduction of contracts CETA and TTIP."

For more on this tour, please see Barlow's Twitter feed at @MaudeBarlow