28th Jan 2023

UK movie star pushes Brussels for fair trade

Popular British actor Colin Firth has joined a circle of celebrities pressing on Brussels to push for an ambitious deal in December's summit of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in Hong Kong.

The actor, who starred in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice and more recently Bridget Jones's Diary, has put his name on the initiative spearheaded by the charity Oxfam, which calls on decision makers to change unfair global trade rules so that people in developing countries can work their way out of poverty.

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The "Big Noise to Make Trade Fair" petition is being sent to country delegations around the world ahead of the WTO meeting to be held between December 13 and 18.

On behalf of the group, Mr Firth met with EU trade commissioner Peter Mandelson on Monday (5 November) and delivered a symbolic petition of 10,000 people who had also signed up under the appeal.

"It's only a fraction of people who are echoing the same sentiments," noted the actor, pointing out that about 80 percent of them are actually farmers in developing countries, not only campaigners.

"Poverty is not a natural law. It is a result of decisions made by individuals," he said, suggesting that "brilliant minds" gathering for the December ministerial meetings should be aware of their responsibility and try hard to unlock the current stalemate.

Mr Firth said that he wanted to lobby for the cause as a "European citizen and as comsumer" and stressed that well-being and prosperity of some nations should not be dependent on the suffering and misery of the others.

Campaigning for Oxfam, not EU

Presence of the famous personality attracted a huge crowd of journalists and officials in Brussels, brandishing more cameras than notebooks.

The European Commission is currently planning to use the same strategy as campaign groups to get closer to European citizens - involving movie stars, sportsmen and other celebrities as its "goodwill ambassadors."

However, asked by the EUobserver whether he would get involved in promoting the EU, Colin Firth said without hesitation: "No."

"I would like to stay with the campaign in which you can be quite precise about what it is you want to achieve," he said.

On top of this, Mr Firth noted "it is not good to have people see you as this sort of campaigner everywhere because then they just think that you are the 'winback' and nothing else."


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