The Resistance Rises: 2,000 European Cities Declare Themselves CETA and TTIP-Free

Cross-posted from Bilaterals.org (the go-to site for everything related to bilateral and multilateral trade agreements and the popular resistance movements they’re spawning)

Last week, the city of Karnobat in Bulgaria became the 2000th city/council to turn CETA and/or TTIP-free, joining a growing European movement to stop the controversial trade agreements.

All over Europe, cities and counties, such as Amsterdam, Cologne, Edinburgh, Grenoble, Barcelona, Milan, Vienna, Thessaloniki, stand against the so-called transatlantic free trade agreements, denouncing the lack of transparency of the negotiations and calling for local and regional bodies to play an integral part in the negotiation. By declaring their cities and counties CETA- and TTIP-free zones, mayors and local politicians affirm their will as elected representatives to make citizens’ voices heard by their governments and by the European Commission, defending local communities and democratic institutions as spaces for debate and decision-making.

“75 million citizens in Europe now live in TTIP and/or CETA free zones”, said Amélie Canonne, President of Aitec and one of the facilitators of the French collective Stop TAFTA. “It’s crystal clear that the people across Europe and their local representatives categorically refuse these unfair treaties. It’s time for national governments to listen.”

In addition to the pressure from local authorities, both trade deals have been recently called into doubt by senior politicians from several countries in Europe. The French secretary of State for foreign trade Matthias Fekl and the German vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel have voiced reticences about TTIP [2], and the Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern has raised concerns about CETA. [3] Despite all these statements, Jean-Claude Juncker has confirmed last weekend at the G20 that the EU Commission will continue negotiating the TTIP agreement [4]. Widespread demonstrations against CETA and TTIP are taking place across Europe this autumn.

As part of this Autumn of action [5], mayors and councillors opposed to CETA and TTIP will gather in Brussels on October 20th, for a Citizens’ CETA Summit.

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