Tournai, the first city in Belgium to declare itself “Out of TAFTA zone”
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    Tournai, the first city in Belgium to declare itself “Out of TAFTA zone”

    It is a premiere in Belgium, a city council unanimously voted a motion against the TTIP/TAFTA deal.  The action was originated by a small group of activist in the city of Tournai, and their concerns have been taken in consideration by the local council, led by mayor Rudy Demotte (PS), also President-Minister of the Wallonia-Brussels federation. What is also worth mentioning, is that all political parties of the city of Tournai agreed as one on the text of the motion, which states that: 

    “The municipal council asserts its fears regarding the negotiations undertaken in the frame of TTIP, which represent a major threat for our municipal democracies, notably regarding economical, social, sanitary, environmental, cultural matters; (…) asks belgian involved and competent authorities to demand that negotiations (…) tend towards upward harmonization, thus integrating the highest standards, whether relative to social rights and health, human rights, environmental protection plans or workers and consumers protection;

    asks (…) that general interest and public services be completely preserved (…); asserts its firm opposition to any clause regarding the settlement of disputes between investors and public authorities by a private arbitration mechanism;

    asks belgian competent authorities to organize a thorough debate on the entire free trade deals with the participation of every level of power including municipal authorities, but also union, associative, and citizen representatives; asks belgian competent authorities to exert pressure at the european level in order for negotiations on this partnership project to be held in the greater transparency towards consumers and citizens.

    This treaty undermines state imperium as well as national, regional, provincial, and municipal sovereignty.

    For this reason, Tournai declares itself to be a city outside of the TTIP zone.”

    Shortly after Tournai’s motion, the city of Genappe voted a very similar text, and in France there are already more than 200 localities who have taken a step against TTIP.  Among them, the municipal council of Paris voted a motion saying the city would be “Outside TAFTA” if the Investor to State Dispute Settlement is to be included in the trade agreement between the EU and the US.

    By Xavier Rossey