Tuesday

20th Aug 2019

TTIP protesters warn of Trojan Horse

  • A blow-up figure of a trojan horse in Brussels symbolises the fear of protesters towards the TTIP trade treaty (Photo: Peter Teffer)

Manon Cruls and Jean-Baptiste Voltuan found shelter from the rainy Brussels afternoon underneath the head of a blow-up trojan horse on Thursday (15 October), as they took a break from their protest.

The object of their anger is twofold, as expressed on a sign Voltuan had temporarily set aside, so that he and Cruls could eat their sandwiches.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

  • "TTIP is death" one banner said. (Photo: Peter Teffer)

“Stop TTIP, stop austerity”, it said.

TTIP refers to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, the free trade treaty being negotiated between the European Union and the US. The next round of talks is scheduled for next week.

The 11th round of discussions in Miami will focus on market access, such as determining rules on the origin of products and tariff elimination.

But to the protesters, the treaty could become a trojan horse watering down EU rules on issues like food safety and health, hence the blow-up figure at the entrance of the Parc du Cinquantenaire at the end of the Rue de la Loi in Brussels' EU neighbourhood.

Cruls and Voltuan do not trust the people negotiating on their behalf, including European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker.

“When Juncker was working as prime minister of Luxembourg, he was helping his friends to hide money”, said 57-year-old Cruls.

“Luxleaks!”, Voltuan, 58, added, referring to the scandal that emerged last year around the sweetheart deals that the Luxembourg tax authority had given to multinationals during the time Juncker was PM.

“We can't trust them. The gap between citizens and [the] elite is growing, which is dangerous”, noted activist Voltuan, with colourful ribbons wrapped around his body, a Guy Fawkes mask and a bee-themed beanie hat on his head.

Voltuan, a Frenchman, and Belgian Cruls, had become friends online, and decided to go to the protest together, which is the final stage in a range of protests in European cities that began in Gibraltar on 1 October, entitled EuroMarchas.

The movement is not only against TTIP, but also against “the brutal imposition of the neoliberal order based on the totalitarianism of financial powers, the primacy of money over popular sovereignty, the privatisation of public services and the transformation of citizens into customers”.

More demonstrations under the flag of EuroMarchas are planned for Friday and Saturday.

“United we save the world!”, Voltuan said with a smile, as around a hundred others listened to a band playing ska music on a stage. He noted that at the beginning of the protest, before the rain, there were more people.

The music and speeches were barely audible in front of the European Council building, where EU government leaders are convening for a summit on Thursday.

Police had cordoned off a larger than usual area for unaccredited persons, scattering the protesters over different locations.

“They are afraid of us”, Cruls said of the politicians.

But both are confident that the government leaders will become aware of the protest, as they had seen television cameras filming them.

Next round of talks

Last week, the US finalised its negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a trade deal with 11 countries, including Mexico, Australia, Canada, Japan, Vietnam and Singapore.

The TPP is a less ambitious agreement than TTIP, but its conclusion puts pressure on the EU not to lose out on the free trade deals shaping global trade.

“After the TPP deal, it will be possible to intensify negotiations with the US”, said an EU official familiar with TTIP talks on Thursday.

Half of the treaty has not yet been negotiated, and the 12th round is scheduled to take place at the end of January or the beginning of February.

Officials are hoping that they can conclude the talks with the Obama administration before January 2017. If the deal can be clinched before Obama leaves office, “it would be very positive,” said a European Commission source.

Opinion

Why von der Leyen must put rights at core of business

Ursula von der Leyen's in-tray must include those European executives on trial for systematic workplace harassment, the break-up of European slavery rings, and allegations of European companies' abuse in palm oil, including child labour, land grabs, and deforestation.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  5. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  7. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  8. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  9. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  10. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North

Latest News

  1. Spain calls for legal action against Italy on migrants
  2. Trump to meet Greenland leader in Denmark
  3. Irish border plan is 'anti-democratic', Johnson tells EU
  4. Polish deputy minister targeted judges in hate campaign
  5. EU ends silence on Hong Kong protests
  6. Is Salvini closing just harbours or also the rule of law?
  7. No-deal Brexit would seriously harm UK, leaked paper says
  8. Selmayr did not keep formal records of lobby meetings

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  3. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  4. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  6. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan
  7. UNICEFUNICEF Hosts MEPs in Jordan Ahead of Brussels Conference on the Future of Syria
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic talks on parental leave at the UN
  9. International Partnership for Human RightsTrial of Chechen prisoner of conscience and human rights activist Oyub Titiev continues.
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic food policy inspires India to be a sustainable superpower
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID
  12. Counter BalanceEU bank urged to free itself from fossil fuels and take climate leadership

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us