Monday, 18 May 2015

TTIP Update - May 2015

The European parliament will have a non-binding vote on TTIP on 9th June and the Yorkshire and Humber Network Against TTIP  (YHNAT) had planned at their last meeting to lobby MEPs in advance of this vote. YHNAT is the network that coordinates sharing of information and the lobbying of MEPs for the Yorshire and Humber region. Francois has been representing Sheffield Friends of the Earth in it. Other groups from Sheffield that are in it include the SCA and Global Justice Sheffield.

A working subgroup has now produced two letters, one for the Labour MEPs (Linda McAvan and Richard Corbett), the other letter for the other MEPs. The  letters will be sent to the MEPs on Saturday 23rd May.

The general letter:
Re: Vote on the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) on 9th June 2015.
Dear <name MEP> 

We are a group of Yorkshire and Humber residents who oppose the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. We believe that it will give corporations more power than ever and will threaten our public services, environment and democracy. The UK government is a major supporter of this deal, which would tighten the grip of big business over our society.

TTIP could:

  • Grant corporations the power to sue governments in secret tribunals;
  • Lock-in the privatisation of public services like the NHS and education;
  • Undermine workers’ rights;
  • Undo regulations that protect food-safety and the environment, giving harmful industries like fracking an easier ride;

We don’t accept that this deal would benefit the UK.  All economic projections are necessarily highly speculative – for example, a hypothetical boost to GDP of 0.5% is so small as to be within margins of error.  In other words, it would be an unnecessary gamble and the result could well be a flow of jobs out of our country.  All that we would be left with would be poorer or dangerous consumables and no freedom to set our own standards.

Please could you contact us to let us know how you intend to vote on 9th June? 

Jude Kirton-Darling MEP has tabled an amendment to oppose secret tribunals (ISDS) in any form. The ISDS is one of the most anti-democratic aspects of TTIP and it is dangerous because it would make governments afraid to regulate. Will you support this amendment?

Please could you confirm that you will not vote for any deal with an ISDS? This includes the proposed agreement with Canada (CETA), the text of which is available. Will you definitely vote against CETA? 

Please could you confirm that you will support Labour MEPs' amendments on food safety standards and employment rights?

Will you oppose the European Commission's proposal to create a 'Regulatory Cooperation Council' which would give business a permanent oversight of laws?

We realise that this is quite a long letter, with many questions, but TTIP is a massive subject with extremely wide-ranging implications so we would be very grateful for your response.

We hope to hear from you soon. Please could you reply no later than 1st June? 
Yours sincerely 
<your name>