On the eve of the CETA vote, members of the “Progressive Caucus” organised a conference in the European Parliament with the title “Reasons and Means to Reject CETA”, co-hosted by the MEPs Anne-Marie Mineur (GUE/NGL), in cooperation with Maria Arena (S&D), and José Bové (Greens-EFA). Stop TTIP was invited to give an account of the European movement against CETA and TTIP.
Here is the intervention of Dániel Fehér, Campaign Manager of Stop TTIP:
Tomorrow’s vote on CETA is not about easier access to maple syrup for Europeans and more Belgian chocolate for Canadians – as some promoters of the trade deal want us to believe.
It’s a vote on democracy in Europe. It’s about the question if representatives of European citizens listen to those who voted for them.
When this European Parliament got elected in 2014, the main slogan was: „This time it’s different”.
Today, we are also standing here with 3.5 million signatures from European citizens, to tell the Members of this House:
„This time it’s different. It’s different, because we are watching you and we will hold you accountable for your vote on CETA.”
TTIP and CETA started off in dark backrooms of neoliberal administrations and greedy lobbyists as an obscure plot to weaken democratic institutions and to allow more deregulation, as an assault on the protection of people and the environment. All this was supposed to happen without too much public attention.
This has not worked. We stopped TTIP and will stop CETA by bringing it out in the open, by shedding light on the scary details, by making citizens ask inconvenient questions. It began as a hidden plot against democracy – we made it the biggest democratic debate the European Union has ever seen!
Our governments sow wind and harvested a storm.
3.5 million citizens signed the European Citizen’s Initiative demanding an end of CETA and TTIP. Over 500 organisations came together in this campaign. Environmentalists were joined by democracy activists, defenders of consumer rights, trade unions, churches, farmers, entrepreneurs and many more, from all member states.
The CETA CHECK allowed for the first time all Europeans to ask all MEPs questions about CETA directly; and then to communicate their opposition to CETA to MEPs. Hundreds of thousands in Europe used this opportunity. They did not just sent emails, they wrote postcards, made phone calls, and went to see their MEPs in their constituencies.
We’ve brought participation in European democracy to a new level, we’ve made European civil society stronger and better connected than ever before.
And be sure, this strength, this energy, this momentum will not go away any time soon.
Dear Members of the European Parliament! When you vote tomorrow, you have to decide if you want to fly with this whirlwind or try to stand in its way.
The decision is yours. But we will make sure your voters will know how you decided and remember when they go to the polls next time.
Dear MEPs, you can try to tell us fairy tales about great improvements in CETA. You can claim that ICS is not creating privileges for some; you can repeat your alternative facts about regulatory cooperation not threatening the protection of European citizens; you can keep insisting that instruments like the ratchet clause and negative lists are not harming elected bodies’ right to regulate.
It is as convincing as when McDonalds puts a sign on its burgers saying “This is healthy food. Promise.”
So dear MEPs, sure, you can try to fool yourselves into believing this. You can also try fooling your voters. But you should remember: You cannot fool all the people all the time.
On this beautiful Valentine’s day, we stand here to bring Members of the European Parliament the message of the European people: Stop CETA. It’s in your hands.
We are here to express citizen’s love to those who defend their interests in tomorrow’s vote. We want to ask you to show your love to Europe’s people by protecting our rights and our democracy.
“Make LOVE, not CETA!”