93 European parliament election candidates pledge to support 9 key proposals for a fair and sustainable trade policy in the European Union
Alternative Trade Mandate
At the eve of the final day of the European elections, which will design the 751 members of the next European Parliament, 193 candidates from 20 countries had taken the commitment to support an alternative trade and investment policy for the EU once elected. The Alternative Trade Mandate Alliance, a coalition of around 80 European civil society organizations , had submitted 9 proposals to be endorsed by the candidates .
These 193 candidates pledge to defend measures protecting small-scale farmers and promoting food sovereignty, protecting public services and asking for the inclusion of human rights criteria in the EU trade agreements’ assessments. They also promise to defend measures protecting essential services from trade liberalization, and to vote against any agreement that would undermine financial reforms and regulations .
“EU trade deals are negotiated behind closed doors in the interests of a few corporations. People who are affected by these deals, both in the EU and abroad, are not consulted. We need MEPs to stand up for an open and democratic EU trade policy-making process, controlled by the people of Europe and their elected representatives, rather than driven by unelected technocrats and corporate lobby groups,” said Pia Eberhardt, from Corporate Europe Observatory, based in Brussels.
In response to that concern, the 193 agreed to endorse the first and core proposal of the Alternative Trade Mandate : the full transparency regarding trade and investment negotiations, and the integral publication of all the documents and texts by the DG Trade.
As exposed through the plans for a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the US and the EU, investment protection clauses are also highly criticized by civil society organizations, since they could deprive states and public authorities from the capacity to enforce regulations and laws protecting public interest. In order to neutralize this threat, the candidates have been asked to oppose the inclusion of ISDS provisions in EU trade agreements.
Led by Alternative Trade Mandate members in Belgium, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Germany, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and other countries, the campaign also made it possible for EU citizens to directly contact their candidates and ask them to support the Alternative Trade Mandate.
The 193 pledges received so far cover a broad range of political parties and groups, from the main groupings present in the EP (EPP, S&D, Greens, GUE/NGL, ALDE) to smaller parties who didn’t reach the European Parliament yet.
“EP members can play a key role in the EU trade decision-making process, in exposing the dangers of the trade and investment agreements as they are pushed by the transnational corporations and their lobbies, and help bringing trade talks into the public debate. The EP ratifies the final trade deals before they come into force. We are satisfied to see that a lot of candidates are aware of the importance of their role, and ready to stand up for democracy, social justice and environment, and not just protect the profit of private companies.” says Johannas Lauterbach, from Attac Germany.
According to Hilde Van der Pas from Transnational Institute, one of the groups which drove the campaign in the Netherlands, “The Alternative Trade Mandate campaign will continue to collect the MEPs’ pledges after the European elections, but this is already a success as these first 193 commitments are already a genuine signal that the will for an alternative path for trade policies exists in Europe, and that neither the Member States, nor the European Commission can now ignore it. Our Alliance is looking forward to working with the elected candidates among those who pledged from next week on, for a fair and sustainable trade policy in Europe.”
The ATM at the door of the European Commission !
The ATM Alliance supported the week of action organized in Brussels from the 10th to the 14th of March against the project of transatlantic free trade agreement defended by the EU and the US administration.
We took part in the protest organized in front of the European Commission’s building the 13th of March.