About 250 people – citizens, NGOs, trade unions, academics, MEPs – attended the first public event on free-trade agreements TTIP and CETA organised by the Progressive Caucus at the European Parliament yesterday, Tuesday 6th September. Eminent speakers as Pascal Lamy (former Director-General of WTO), Jeronim Capaldo (Tufts University), Penny Clarke, (European Public Service Union), and Cécile Toubeau (NGO Transport and Environment) contributed to the success of the event.
Established by MEPs from different progressive political groups, the Progressive Caucus aims at creating a space of dialogue based on confidence-building among progressive allies in the European Parliament and across Europe. After the launch of the campaign: “Unravelling CETA”* – aiming to inform on the content of the EU-Canada free-trade agreement, Progressive MEPs, coming from different political groups, intend now to join forces with civil society, in order to publicize what is really at stake in CETA.
Eva Joly, MEP Greens/EFA: Together and by giving citizens the means to mobilize themselves, we can change the story and turn off the xenophobic and nationalist fire threatening our continent.
Guillaume Balas, MEP S&D: The ambition of the Progressive Caucus is not to divide but to gather around the most important: ideas, content and reorientation.
Fabio De Masi, MEP GUE/NGL: We want controversial debates inside the European Parliament where we can build trust among each other. Progressive MEPs are welcome to join us.
Pascal Lamy, former Director- General of WTO: New obstacles are replacing old trade barriers whose purpose is not to protect the producer but the consumer: norms, standards, certification processes.
Dimitrios Papadimoulis – Vice President EU Parliament: We have created a progressive alliance and an open forum for debate and common action in the European Parliament, trying to have a concrete alternative, progressive proposal -against the ruling majority and totally against the alternative of the extreme right that are proposing to go totally backwards.
Ska Keller, MEP Greens: We can only stop CETA in the European Parliament if we are all working together and if we go across political groups. We might have different arguments but we should bring together people against this free trade agreement.
Jeronim Capaldo, Tufts University: CETA’s impact on growth and employment follows the same negative results we studied on TTIP. 204 thousand jobs could be lost with CETA.
Penny Clarke, European Public Service Union: Principals and regulations like universal access, democratic control, solidarity funding make quality public services work in Europe. Many of these principals are questioned by CETA.
Cécile Toubeau, NGO Trade and Environment: CETA’s investment protection is a recipe for disaster for Europe.
Yannick Jadot, MEP Greens/EFA: Europe continues to transfer power to multinationals instead of giving it to citizens;
Sergio Cofferati, MEP S&D: We are trying to strengthen a common and progressive point of view of members belonging to different political families. Starting from the opposition to the CETA and more generally from the free trade agreements issue we can show that an alternative vision and program of Europe is possible.
Anne-Marie Mineur, MEP GUE/NGL: The ‘new’ arbitration in CETA is just a botox version of the old one.
Emmanuel Maurel, MEP S&D: If CETA really was a “progressive agreement”, it would not have been negotiated in such an opaque way. It would strengthen public regulations, it would bridge inequalities, and it would protect sensitive sectors. It simply does not.
Stelios Kouloglou, Journalist, MEP GUE/NGL: These agreements are destroying the quality of life of the Europeans. These agreements are sponsored by the big corporations and the lobbyists in Brussels and within the Commission and the European Parliament. That’s why we are against them. So we want to take another direction in order to save Europe. And that is why we found common ground.
Ernest Urtasun, MEP Greens/EFA:Many MEPs attended our event. I am convinced it is extremely important to have this forum where we can discuss and fight together for issues in which we believe.
Facebook Page: UnravellingCETA
Website of the campaign Unravelling CETA: http://www.unravellingceta.eu/
Edited video & Photos ©: Vasileios Katsardis/ European Union 2016):
– Video in English: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k9fRlK9uSH8
– Video in French: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bOL2YmXXQW4
– Video Press Conference: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/ep-live/el/other-events/video?event=20160906-0930-SPECIAL-UNKN
– Edited Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IsfZc8sr4Z0