The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations continue to take place behind closed doors, away from the inconvenience of public scrutiny, and there is an important European Parliament vote taking place on the 10th June to formalise the level of political support/opposition towards the trade agreement. The vote this week is to set out the Parliament’s position, and although not a binding resolution (it is the European Commission that is leading negotiations) it has the capacity to impact the details of the agreement and send a strong message about the potential for veto when it comes to any final ratifying vote.
There are numerous, highly concerning aspects of the trade agreement that have been widely discussed. From the high degree of secrecy, to the justifiably controversial Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS), through to worrying issues about chasing lowest common denominators on regulations surrounding things such as food standards and data protection. It’s important to read widely about the largest trade deal in history because it is going to impact almost every area of our daily lives for generations to come.
The EU Greens have released a good post on 30 reasons why they oppose TTIP – and if you only read one post on the issue I would suggest that one as it is a comprehensive overview with a lot of excellent source material if you want to delve deeper.
The point of this post is to try and mobilise those of you reading to act. This time, please, take action. Successful democracy depends on citizen participation, and for these trade negotiations such participation is thoroughly undermined by the closed door negotiations taking place. However, through key moments such as the European Parliament vote taking place this week we are able to make an impact. MEPs are representatives of citizens, and by contacting them you can add to the chorus of voices that are speaking up about this issue and collectively we can hopefully influence the vote taking place in less than 48 hours. This, in turn, could have a vital impact on the direction of ongoing negotiations.
The immediate response that many people have to these kind of calls to action is to presume that enough is being done already. TTIP certainly hasn’t gotten a free ride, thanks to some persistent well-informed journalists and very active campaigners, so hasn’t the dissent already been heard? Yes, to a large extent…but it’s important to remember that the vested business interests lobbying strongly aren’t letting up, and neither should we.
This close to a key vote, it’s time to find ways to contact MEPs that will be heard. That’s why I would recommend not merely signing up to a large campaign or sending a template email (although both are a good place to start!), but rather taking some time today to inform yourself about a particular concern in the agreement and then lobby particular MEPs about that focused issue.
By standing out from the noise you can hopefully make more of an impact. No matter what happens this week, the fight for a fair and just outcome will continue. One that looks out for the interests of citizens, over multi-national corporate agendas that have little sense of long-term commitment or loyalty to a healthy and flourishing society.
Learn about TTIP by reading through the links in this post before contacting your MEPs on phone, email, or social media right now. Make a stand and be counted!