German Vice Chancellor and Minister for Economic Affairs Sigmar Gabriel has declared that TTIP talks have “de facto failed because we Europeans did not want to subject ourselves to American demands.”
“It’s an important statement insofar as it endorses the concerns of European and US civil society,” says Monica Di Sisto, spokesperson of the Stop TTIP Italia campaign. “But we need to keep our eyes peeled. If Sigmar Gabriel is emphasizing what Stop TTIP Italia and other European campaigns have been arguing for years, this isn’t just a bargaining tactic. We shall find out what is actually happening at the September meeting of the European Council in Bratislava. There, we will also be discussing another cause for concern, CETA, the EU-Canada trade agreement, which, thanks to grassroots pressure, will have to be ratified by national parliaments thus allowing Italian MPs to vote on a decision of capital importance for the national economy. Bratislava has to come out with a clear no to both TTIP and CETA, which is what the majority of European citizens want.”
“SF welcomes the end of TTIP negotiations” states Ursula Hudson, member of Slow Food’s Executive Committee and chair of Slow Food Germany. “TTIP was always going to undermine the achieved standards re food and food production. The beneficiaries in the food sector would have been the multinationals on American as well as European side, which would lead to ever more standardisation and commodification of food. Small scale production, sustainable production, fair production would be more likely have been wiped out rather than supported. Consumer interests, such as clear labelling would have been compromised and not strengthened. Furthermore the TTIP would have transferred legally binding competences to private entities. The end of TTIP demonstrates that grassroots standing for their interests have power. Together we can shape the world we want and need.”
But we also have to pay attention to the other big trade agreement, CETA, which risks being ratified in the short term.
“Right now, TTIP is blocked” states José Bové, one of the leading figures of the anti-globalization movement that has been on the frontline in the battle for peasants’ rights for decades. “In the US no candidate for the presidential election is for it. In Europe the citizen opposition gained strength and some governments, like France, are in no hurry to see it finalized. I think that TTIP is not our first priority anymore: we have to focus our attention and our energy on CETA, the bilateral agreement negotiated between the EU and Canada whose negotiations have been concluded and could be adopted by the end of October 2016. CETA and TTIP share the same philosophy: CETA is the twin brother of the TTIP and the Trojan Horse of the global companies. The European Union is ready, once again, to offer big concessions on food and agriculture in order to secure some advantages for its services sector and industries. As always, the small-scale family farmers and quality products that define our territories will be most affected. They are not defended in the framework of this agreement: only 10% of the European PGI (excluding wines) will be protected in Canada. This will mean, for example, that famous Italian cheeses like Parmigiano or Gorgonzola will have partial protection at best, perhaps none at all, while less famous cheeses run the risk of being copied in Canada.”
We hope that the upcoming European Council in Bratislava will put a final stop to the TTIP and CETA negotiations.
Slow Food has adhered to a number of Italian and European initiatives to oppose TTIP and CETA, from street demonstrations to letters to national governments and European institutions demanding that they put the good of the population ahead of profit.
Two events have been organized at Terra Madre Salone del Gusto: a conference “They Are Giants, But We Are Millions” with José Bové and a forum “TTIP: what does it foresee and what does the agreement between Europe and the USA mean.’
In October, a major event will also be held in Brussels. Slow Food will present the richness of food biodiversity along with the cultures and local communities that we want to protect and promote. Local communities will prosper through local food systems, not with TTIP or CETA.