“TTIP (transatlantic trade and investment partnership) is an all-out attack on economic democracy,” said Bruno Poncelet, spokesperson for the No Transat group, at a press conference organised by FGTB-Wallonia (general federation of Belgian workers) in Namur to discuss its impact on local authorities and businesses, on Friday midday. The “free-trade” agreement is currently being negotiated by the United States and the EU, “at the request of powerful multinational companies.” Approximately 50 Walloon towns signed a petition against TTIP. Over a million and a half European citizens signed the “Stop TTIP” petition while 150,000 took part in a public consultation. “All is not lost. The process is moving forward in spite of everything. We are appealing again to the 215 other towns. If, by tomorrow, 250 Walloon towns are TTIP-free zones, we may have an impact on decisions at higher levels,” highlighted Thierry Bodson, secretary general of FGTB-Wallonia, which is part of the group. “Economic democracy gives us rights and obligations in the workplace. But with TTIP, multinational companies want to have far more rights and less obligations, and to push democracy back in general,” explained Bruno Poncelet.
A parallel summit and a protest march are scheduled in Brussels at the behest of Acteurs des Temps présents, alliance D19-20, Tout Autre Chose and Hart Boven Hard, on Friday night and on Saturday.
Formed in 2011, the No Transat group counts over 55,000 citizens, and almost 300 organisations.
Oscar Schneider (Source: Belga)