Saturday

21st Oct 2017

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.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

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.

Analysis

Obesity linked to agricultural policy, new studies say

The number of obese children and adolescents worldwide has risen tenfold in the past four decades, according to the WHO. Health campaigners are pushing for a radical rethink of the EU's common agricultural policy to help tackle the obesity epidemic.

News in Brief

  1. Rajoy to trigger Article 155 on Saturday in Catalan crisis
  2. EU conducts unannounced inspection of German car firm
  3. Lithuania calls for new EU energy laws
  4. EU leaders aim for December for defence cooperation
  5. Juncker says hands tied on Russia pipeline
  6. Czechs set to elect billionaire Andrej Babis
  7. Italian regions hold referendums on more autonomy
  8. EU leaders refuse to mediate Catalonia conflict

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Friends of ArmeniaEU Engagement Could Contribute to Lasting Peace in Nagorno-Karabakh
  2. UNICEFViolence in Myanmar Driving up to 12,000 Rohingya Refugee Children Into Bangladesh Every Week
  3. European Jewish CongressEJC Applauds the Bulgarian Government for Adopting the Working Definition of Antisemitism
  4. EU2017EENorth Korea Leaves Europe No Choice, Says Estonian Foreign Minister Sven Mikser
  5. Mission of China to the EUZhang Ming Appointed New Ambassador of the Mission of China to the EU
  6. International Partnership for Human RightsEU Should Seek Concrete Commitments From Azerbaijan at Human Rights Dialogue
  7. European Jewish CongressEJC Calls for New Austrian Government to Exclude Extremist Freedom Party
  8. CES - Silicones EuropeIn Healthcare, Silicones Are the Frontrunner. And That's a Good Thing!
  9. EU2017EEEuropean Space Week 2017 in Tallinn from November 3-9. Register Now!
  10. European Entrepreneurs CEA-PMEMobiliseSME Exchange Programme Open Doors for 400 Companies Across Europe
  11. CECEE-Privacy Regulation – Hands off M2M Communication!
  12. ILGA-EuropeHealth4LGBTI: Reducing Health Inequalities Experienced by LGBTI People

Latest News

  1. The mysterious German behind Orban's Russian deals
  2. Mogherini urged to do more on Russian propaganda
  3. Turkey funding cuts signal EU mood shift
  4. Posted workers top EU agenda This Week
  5. Leaders lobby to host EU agencies at summit's margins
  6. Legal tweak could extend EU control on Russia pipeline
  7. Ukraine language law does not harm minorities
  8. EU begins preparations for Brexit trade talks