Original article Keep Our NHS Public OXFORDSHIRE
March 10-14th saw the latest round of the EU-US free trade negotiations in Brussels. The industry’s 50 leading CEO’s, known collectively as the European Roundtable of Industrialists, proclaimed it their responsibility to ensure the deal was passed ‘with as little noise as possible’. But, on 13 March, there was a very noisy protest outside the building in Brussels. The protest rally had speakers from the US trade union Teamsters, the president of Belgian trade union MOC, and farmers from both sides of the Atlantic, including Luc Holland from the Belgian Milk Producers Association (MIG).
The same week, the two biggest Belgian trade unions, CSC and FGTB, categorically rejected the treaty. Meanwhile in Germany, the metal workers’ trade union, IG Metall, has taken a similar stance. The new leader of IG Metall, Detlef Wetzel, has told the German press he is demanding an immediate halt to TTIP negotiations. Wetzel says the TTIP negotiations pose a lot of risks for consumers and workers, and described the agreement as “dangerous”. The announcement is another serious blow to TTIP as IG Metall has 2.4 million members in Germany.
However, while citizens were calling for an end to TTIP and the close relationship between corporations and our policy makers, the EU lead negotiator Ignacio Garcia Bercero and members of his team were enjoying lunch with the Transatlantic Business Council (TABC – made up of the biggest corporate names in Brussels). The night before, Bercero was also the key speaker at a cocktail party organised by the American Chamber of Commerce.