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ECI demands: Stop negotiations for TTIP and CETA

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Michael Efler of Mehr Demokratie and Maritta Strasser of Campact in Brussels. Photo by Felix Kindermann

ECI demands: Stop negotiations for TTIP and CETA

15-07-2014

On Tuesday, 15 July, activists of "Stop TTIP" brought forward their motion for registration of a European Citizens' Initiative at the European Commission. The initiative “STOP TTIP” asks the EU Commission to recommend to the EU Council of Ministers to repeal the negotiating mandate for the Trade Investor Partnership (TTIP) and not to conclude CETA.

Behind the initiative are standing nearly 148 organisations from 18 EU member states. In Germany, the organisations More Democracy (Mehr Demokratie e.V.) - member of Democracy International - Attac, Campact, Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND), More Democracy (Mehr Demokratie e.V.), Environment Institute Munich and the Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Unit (NABU) coordinate the preparations. Amongst many others, Transparency International Germany, Greenpeace Luxembourg, 38 degrees (UK), War on Want (UK), Unison (UK), and Tierra (Friends of the Earth Spain) belong to the European coalition, which is growing constantly.

“The centre of our criticism is the democratic dimension of the planned agreement: rules, which have far-reaching consequences for 500 million EU citizens in 28 member states, are negotiated behind closed doors. This is what we oppose”, says Michael Efler, representative of the ECI's citizens' committee and spokesperson of the federal association More Democracy (Mehr Demokratie e.V.).

In particular, he criticises the planned Investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS). These are rules concerning investment protection, which grant foreign investors far-reaching protection rights. If e.g. a national parliament passes a law, which would affect the investment and profits of a company, the latter would have the right to file a suit – however not in front of a public court but in front of a confidential arbitral court. Democratically legitimized decisions and constitutional procedures would be thwarted. “The plans on regulatory cooperation are dangerous as well. They would lead to a constraint of democratic control. That means: They would set up a sort of early warning mechanism for planned trade-related laws or regulations. It would allow the contracting party and lobbyists to voice their interest even before the parliamentary process. Unwanted regulations that could hamper market access could be prevented in this way”, Michael Efler explains.

Since 1 April 2012, citizens of EU states have the possibility to request a legislative act from the European Commission: the ECI. At the same time a successful ECI forces a hearing at the European Parliament. For an ECI to be successful, at least one million signatures must be collected. Moreover, country-specific quorums must be achieved in at least seven EU member states.

Further facts on the planned European Citizens' Initiative:

You can find the wording of the ECI here:
www.stop-ttip.org/registration

Each ECI needs a citizens' committee consisting of seven members. You can find information about the members here:
www.stop-ttip.org/members

The start of signature collection for the anti-TTIP-ECI is planned for September this year. You can find a detailed time schedule here;
www.stop-ttip.org/schedule

More Democracy (Mehr Demokratie e.V.) has commissioned an independent legal opinion, which reviews the legal legitimacy in advance. It comes to the result that ECI is admissible. You can consult the legal opinion here.

 

Credits of Image above: Photo by Felix Kindermann, without any modifications, just formatted. See source here.

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