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Weak Draft TTIP Resolution Adopted

 (updated 28/05/2015, 30/05/2015 and  01/06/2015) The European Parliament’s trade committee today adopted a weak resolution on the parliament’s position on TTIP, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. This disappointing resolution was adopted by what sources describe as a “grand coalition” of centre, centre right and centre left groupings. It  failed to include any criticism of the controversial ISDS investor protection mechanism. According to Friends of the Earth Europe, the draft resolution, which is to be debated in plenary on 10 June “is the unique opportunity for the European Parliament to give its opinion on the on-going trade talks between the EU and the US.” Friends of the Earth Europe however “condemned the outcome of the vote as a weak resolution failing to draw clear red lines on some of the biggest dangers of the proposed trade deal”. Because of today’s adoption, the resolution itself will be only include very  weak language, language which in no significant way reflects the depth of citizen concern and anger at TTIP and, especially, ISDS – Investor-State Dispute Settlement  – the […]

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WTO’s COOL Ruling confirms that trade treaties undermine national laws

ARC2020 UPDATE and Comment 28/05/2015 According to leaked EU Commission documents mandatory origin labeling for food will not be introduced. While there is already a voluntary label on mainstream meat products, both milk products and other meat products (such as “horse meat, rabbit and game”) will also only be eligible for the voluntary label. There will be no mandatory label for any meat or milk or processed foods now, according to the ViEUws report, because this would lead to “higher operating costs and a hike in food prices…it would also “disrupt cross boarder trade and increase costs”. So, reports ViEUws, the EU is likely to keep this labeling as Voluntary. (See at  5 mins 51 sec in the recent ViEUws Brussels Briefing at end of this post). This is remarkably similar to the language and reasoning of the WTO, as outlined below by Shefali Sharma. This also points to significant regulatory harmonisation, a form of ISDS by the back door. Article by Shefali Sharma  of IATP. On May 8th, President Obama told a crowd in Oregon: […]

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Stop Calling the TPP A Trade Agreement – It Isn’t

Stop Calling the TPP A Trade Agreement – It Isn’t. By Dave Johnson. This a message to activists trying to fight the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Stop calling the TPP a “trade” agreement. TPP is a corporate/investor rights agreement, not a “trade” agreement. “Trade” is a good thing; TPP is not. Every time you use the word “trade” in association with the TPP, you are helping the other side. “Trade” is a propaganda word. It short-circuits thinking. People hear “trade” and the brain stops working. People think, “Of course, trade is good.” And that ends the discussion. Calling TPP a “trade” agreement lets the pro-TPP people argue that TPP is about trade instead of what it is really about. It diverts attention from the real problem. It enables advocates to say things like, “95 percent of the world lives outside the U.S.” as if that has anything to do with TPP. It lets them say, “We know that exports support American jobs” to sell a corporate rights agreement. It enables them to say nonsense like this about […]

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Romania: Redrawing CAP Support Areas to Favour Oligarchs and Land Grabbers

Written by Attila Szocs, Land Rights Campaigner at Eco Ruralis This week, Romania received the formal approval from the European Commission for the starting of the National Rural Development Plan (NRDP) for the 2014-2020 time frame. This enables the Romanian Ministry for Agriculture, to launch all measures of the program. Formal declarations were made at the end of an official meeting in Bucharest, between Phil Hogan, European Commissioner for Agriculture and Daniel Constantin, Romanian Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development. A delicate matter was raised during the discussions. The Romanian authorities requested the re-designation of the “Less Favored Areas” (LFAs) of the country, given the fact that some of the provisions led to the exclusion of vulnerable areas which were formerly part of support plans. Commissioner Hogan underlined that the issue is known at an EU level but that “there is a regulatory problem which cannot be solved”. A paradox situation, given the fact that the Romanian Ministry for Agriculture accomplished the re-designation in the first place.  LFAs are geographical areas where agricultural production is qualitatively and quantitatively […]

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Czech Agriculture – using CAP for agroecology?

Czech Republic is the European Union country with the highest share of arable land, around 38% of its surface. Despite this fact, recent trends give clear evidence for an enormous decrease of agricultural land due to the expansion of urbanization and industrialization plans across the country. However the reformed Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) of the European Union (EU) could potentially push Czech Republic to promote an environmentally and socially sustainable agriculture. The process of land degradation in Czech Republic has its roots in the agricultural land expropriations of the 1950s done by the communist regime. During that time agricultural policy focused mostly on the large-scale consolidation of farmlands as well as on highly intensive methods of production through the use of agrochemicals without consideration of potential environmental risks.  In light of the „Velvet revolution“ in 1989 the political and economic changes gave rise various agricultural currents, from agroindustry to organic farming. Already in 1990 the Ministry for Agriculture established its own department for „alternative agriculture“, handing out Governmental support in form of direct subsidies to […]