Democracy ‘cannot accept’ TTIP pact
McDonnell leads condemnation of pro-business trade deal
TRADE deal TTIP “cannot be accepted in a democratic country,” John McDonnell said this weekend as 250,000 people marched in Berlin against the EU-US pact.
An international day of action against the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), which could allow US transnational companies to sue EU governments for trying to protect their public services from privatisation, saw demonstrators across Europe barrack Brussels bureaucrats for selling out.
War on Want executive director John Hilary told the Star that the popular displays showed that Europeans were waking up to the reality of the EU.
“This is a savage institution which is committed to an extreme agenda of austerity and free-market capitalism,” he said.
“We are proud to be European but we are sick and tired of the corrupt institution that is the EU.”
And speaking at a rally in London on Saturday evening, Labour shadow chancellor Mr McDonnell said: “When this debate starts in the Labour Party, I will be saying clearly: ‘We must oppose TTIP.’
“TTIP will enable the corporations to steal from us even more. I think Labour is moving towards a recognition that TTIP cannot be accepted in a democratic country.”
Mr McDonnell’s intervention was welcomed as confirmation that opposition to TTIP has moved from the fringes.
“It’s great that the opposition parties are starting to stand up to the army of corporate lobbyists at Brussels who are the driving force behind this toxic trade deal,” said Global Justice Now director Nick Dearden.
“In just over a year TTIP has gone from being an obscure set of acronyms to a political controversy that millions of people across Europe are opposing.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been one of the deal’s biggest champions, saying it would boost the global economy, improve the climate for small businesses and reduce bureaucracy.
But protesters in Berlin organised by German union confederation DGB slammed TTIP for handing arbitration powers over disputes — including arguments over privatisations — to a secretive corporate court.
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