Saturday

20th Oct 2018

Thousands protest in Brussels against EU-US trade ageement

Protestors gathered in front of an empty EU summit building on Friday (19 December) to demonstrate against the EU-US free trade pact talks.

A planned two-day summit in Brussels ended early on Thursday evening with EU leaders pledging to have the deal, which is set to remove trade tariffs and harmonise standards with the US, signed by the end of 2015.

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

But Sebastian Franco, one of the protest organisers at Alliance D-1920, a social movement opposed to the transatlantic trade and investment partnership (TTIP), told this website their anti-free trade message had not been lost.

“It is the first time the summit finished so early, I wouldn’t say it was just because of us, but it was also because of us,” he said.

TTIP is stirring general controversy, with critics saying it will have a negative impact on a whole range of issues from the environment to energy and food.

The lack of transparency behind the deal-making with the Americans and its broader implications are among the long list of issues that worry the citizens across Europe, said Franco.

“The governments and lobbies are afraid, they feel resistance is growing, and we think they can lose this battle,” he said.

According to Franco, more than 3,000 people showed up.

Farmers had blocked off streets with around thirty tractors and set bails of hay alight as demonstrators ‘encircled’ the summit building in a symbolic display of resistance.

Effigies of EU leaders like Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel were burned. One banner, stretched across the side of the future seat of the European Council, had "Merry Christmas and happy austerity” written across it.

By noon, a heavy down pour of rain had dispersed the last remaining crowds with police and riot officers standing nearby and behind waist-high metal barricades.

The main demonstration was held without incident although two separate groups of protestors stormed the buildings of lobbying umbrella organisations FoodDrink Europe and BusinessEurope.

“What we want to achieve is to stop the negotiations and have transparency,” said one representative, who did not want to be named, from a Belgian-based pro-democracy organisation, La maison du peuple d'Europe.

Campaigners on Thursday had also obtained over one million signatures on a petition calling for EU-US trade talks to be halted and an EU trade deal with Canada to be scrapped.

The citizens' initiative requires a formal response from the European Commission if it reaches one million signatures.

EU-US trade talks in 'troubled waters'

EU-US trade talks are “in troubled waters” and need a “fresh start for parliament to approve an agreement”, its trade committee chairman has said.

EU to propose scrapping summer time change

Based on the preliminary results of an online survey in which mostly Germans took part, the EU executive is proposing that the whole EU stops changing times in March and October.

Investigation

How to get around the EU posted workers directive

Some EU careworkers in Belgium receive around €400 a month - despite their carers paying €2,500 a month and paying for flights and accommodation. The answer lies in how firms can skirt the safeguards in the EU's posted workers directive.

Feature

Resetting the gender balance through football

Many sports, like football, have been so heavily male-dominated at every level that women and girls have battled against poor odds to be treated as equals in the game. FIFA aims to change that.

News in Brief

  1. Macedonia MPs back name deal in initial vote
  2. EU to open trade talks with US on beef
  3. EU court orders Poland to suspend firing judges
  4. Japan to focus on circular economy at G20
  5. Italian budget 'significant deviation' from rules, says EU
  6. Podemos initiates debate on legalising marijuana in Spain
  7. Merkel: Focus on banking union at December EU summit
  8. Scotland confirms mad cow disease case

EU gets record response on 'summertime' consultation

The EU Commission has received several million responses from citizens, businesses, and organisations on whether to end the daylight summertime savings. Any tangible change would take ... time.

Exclusive

Women shun EU-funded site for female entrepreneurs

Wegate.eu, which received €1.2m in EU money since its launch almost two years ago, has less than a thousand registered users - from a possible target audience of at least 10 million.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  3. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  5. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  6. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  7. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  8. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  9. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  11. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  12. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All

Latest News

  1. What Italy's budget row is actually about
  2. EU preparing 'concentration camps' for migrants in Africa
  3. Poland to respect EU injunction on judicial purge
  4. EU votes on Facebook and plastic This WEEK
  5. Top EU banks guilty of multi-billion tax fraud
  6. Polish left a glimmer of hope in fight against illiberal democracy
  7. Europe and Asia seek stable relations in troubled times
  8. Asylum reforms derailed, as EU looks to north Africa

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us