We are an alliance of more than 500 European organisations running campaigns and actions against TTIP and CETA. We believe that these two trade and investment agreements must be stopped because they pose a threat to democracy, the rule of law, the environment, health, public services as well as consumer and labour rights. See our short introduction for more details.
Self-organised European Citizens’ Initiative
The self-organised European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) Stop TTIP collected signatures against TTIP and CETA from 7 October 2014 to 6 October 2015. During this one year, 3,284,289 European citizens signed the ECI and set a strong signal against TTIP and CETA. We reached the country quorum in 23 Member States. The country quorum is a minimum amount of signatures which has to be gathered in at least seven EU Member States for a successful ECI. See our blog post for more detailed results.
TTIP and CETA are prepared behind closed doors. For the EU, the European Commission is in charge of negotiations and finalisation of the treaties. How can we directly influence the European Commission? So far, the sole available legal instrument is the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI), which can be used to challenge the European Commission to deal with a subject and to make legislative changes. A successful ECI also forces a hearing in the EU Parliament.
On 15 July 2014, we applied for registration of our ECI “Stop TTIP” with the European Commission. Then something unexpected happened: on 11 September 2014, the Commission rejected this application, using two main arguments: Firstly, the Commission claims that the negotiating mandates on TTIP and CETA are not legal acts but internal preparatory acts between EU institutions and therefore not contestable via an ECI. Secondly, the Commission claims that it cannot make negative ratification proposals and therefore cannot comply with the ECI demand not to conclude the CETA and TTIP negotiations. We believe these arguments don’t hold legal scrutiny and are politcally motivated. You can find a more detailed explanation here.
Lawsuit at the ECJ
On 10 November 2014, the Stop TTIP coalition filed a lawsuit against the European Commission at the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Luxembourg. If successful, the initiative would have forced the Commission to review its policy on the deals and to hold a hearing in the European Parliament.
– Background Information on the lawsuit at ECJ
– Legal opinion regarding the admissibility of a European Citizens’ Initiative against TTIP and CETA by Professor Dr. jur . Bernhard Kempen, University of Cologne
Despite all this, we decided to carry out our European Citizens’ Initiative without permission from Brussels and called it a self-organised European Citizens’ Initiative. We think that it is our democratic right as citizens of the EU to have a say on matters that affect us: both TTIP and CETA will have profound effects on our lives and our society.
The signature gathering for the self-organised ECI closed on 6 October 2015 (for results click here). Nevertheless we have decided to continue gathering signatures as TTIP and CETA are not yet defeated.
While gathering signatures, we talked to a lot of people that have never heard of the trade agreements or do not know what effects the agreements would have. Opinion polls have shown: the more someone knows about TTIP and CETA, the more likely they are to oppose the agreements.
Help us make this movement against TTIP and CETA into an even larger and more effective campaign. Sign the European Initiative now and help us spread the word! Sign the European Initiative now and help us spread the word!
Stop TTIP Campaign Timeline
Q&A About the Campaign
What did you do with the signatures you collected for the (s)ECI?
From 7.10.2014 until 6.10.2015 we collected roughly 3,3 million signatures for the self-organised European Citizens’ Initiative against TTIP and CETA. On 7 October 2015, as part of an action in Brussels, we handed the signatures over to the European Commission. We are asking them to stop the negotiations on TTIP and not to ratify CETA, the trade agreement with Canada. Additionally, we demand that the European Commission treat us like a regular ECI which means we expect an official response from the European Commission and a public hearing in the European Parliament. In September 2014 the European Commission had rejected a registration as an official ECI. As we regard this decision as politically motivated and standing on shaky legal ground, we are challenging this decision in the European Court of Justice (ECJ).
After the end of the (s)ECI: what is next for Stop TTIP?
The self-organised European Citizens’ Initiative (sECI) was the most prominent activity of the Stop TTIP association. For our sECI we followed the rules of the European Commission for a normal ECI. An ECI has exactly one year to collect signatures. We started on the 7 October 2014, thus our sECI ended on 6 October 2015.
However, Stop TTIP will continue to exist. TTIP and CETA have not been stopped yet. And that is why we will keep collecting signatures against these agreements, but under a new name, as since the end of the sECI we no longer are a European Citizens’ Initiative. We are continuing as a European Initiative. Furthermore, additionally to the continuation of the signature collection, we will also develop other opportunities for citizens to become active against TTIP and CETA. More information on this will follow shortly.
Why do you continue with the Stop TTIP campaign?
Even though we achieved a great result with our signature collection – we collected 3,284,289 signatures and reached the country quorum in 23 states (7 were required) – TTIP and CETA are not yet defeated. The EU is continuing its negotiations, and their supporters keep advertising for the trade agreements. Our case in the European Court of Justice also has not been decided on. This is why it is still important to show how many people oppose the trade agreements.