8 thoughts on “Anti-CETA demonstration in London, England

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  3. Tuesday 22nd November 2016

    posted by Zoe Streatfield in Britain

    THE Scottish Greens have warned that the NHS in Scotland is under threat of privatisation after it was revealed that it had not been exempted from the Ceta free trade deal.

    Following parliamentary questioning by the Greens, the Scottish government’s Economy Secretary Keith Brown admitted that NHS Scotland had not been specifically listed as being exempt from the Ceta trade deal signed by the European Union and Canada.

    Scottish Green Party food and farming spokesman Mark Ruskell has called on the Scottish government to publish its assessment of the impact of Ceta on Scotland, but ministers have refused, saying it is “legal advice.”

    “The UK government has previously said that the NHS would be exempt from controversial trade deals including TTIP and Ceta,” said Mr Ruskell.

    “It’s a worry that NHS Scotland has not been listed separately in the treaty, and I would urge the Scottish government to seek clarity on this point.”

    Mr Ruskell called on ministers to take action to prevent Ceta which he described as a “corporate power grab” that poses a threat “not only to our public services but to our economy.”

    Global Justice Now trade campaigner Guy Taylor also voiced concerns about Ceta’s affect on public services.

    He warned: “One of the biggest threats posed by the toxic trade deal between Canada and the EU is that it would ‘lock in’ the privatisation of public services.

    “Richard Branson is quietly hoovering up large amounts of the NHS through Virgin Care, and if Ceta was to come into force it would make it impossible to take such vital services back into public ownership,” he said.

    http://morningstaronline.co.uk/a-ce4c-Scottish-NHS-still-at-the-mercy-of-Ceta-trade-deal#.WDQMdH2bIdU

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  5. Thursday 12th
    posted by Morning Star in Britain

    by Felicity Collier

    EURO MPs are meeting today to decide whether the secretive EU-Canada free trade deal can be justified on environmental grounds.

    Belgian Green MEP Bart Staes has produced a draft report recommending that the environment, public health and food safety committee oppose the Ceta deal as it doesn’t do enough to protect the planet — and urging the European Parliament to vote against it next month.

    But free-trade fanatics are rallying to get the committee behind the deal, producing amendments leaving the stinging attacks in the report intact, but giving consent to the deal nonetheless. Campaigners have been urging the public to contact the committee’s MEPs to urge them to block Ceta.

    War On Want’s Mark Dearn said that the outcome of today’s meeting will “put huge pressure on the final vote.”

    Campaign group noTTIP urged: “We desperately need people to wake up to the fact that Britain is a signatory to Ceta and will remain so until we completely leave Europe.”

    The deal could be passed within the next two months, “with large swathes of it immediately put in place,” noTTIP said.

    “After that happens those already struggling in the UK’s brittle Brexit economy will feel the squeeze of yet more anti-worker policy-making.”

    Campaigners are planning an international day of action on Saturday January 21, centring on a major demo in Brussels.

    And on Thursday January 26, British campaigners will hold a public meeting at Westminster University with Green MEP Jean Lambert and others.

    http://morningstaronline.co.uk/a-8e80-Environmental-MEPs-consider-Ceta-trade-deal#.WHc33n2bIdU

  6. Tuesday 7th February 2017

    posted by Steve Sweeney in Britain

    Activists demand a Commons debate on shady free trade deal

    CAMPAIGNERS protested outside Parliament yesterday against a government “cover-up” for refusing a Commons debate on a trade deal that puts “democracy and public services up for sale.”

    The Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (Ceta) is a “secretly negotiated” trade deal between Canada and the European Union that will “undermine our democracy and destroy our basic rights,” campaign group Ceta Blockers argued.

    They slammed a European committee meeting which took place in Parliament yesterday as “hastily arranged” and demanded that the deal is subject to an emergency Commons debate ahead of a vote in the European Parliament on February 15.

    Ceta Blockers demanded transparency and democracy in any future trade deals.

    They claim that Ceta has already been signed by the European Council of Ministers — the decision-making body of the EU — and wrote to MPs warning that if the deal is voted in on February 15 it will be provisionally implemented “without any debate in the UK Parliament.”

    Last October, the European scrutiny committee had met and recommended a debate on Ceta due to the “complex legal and policy issues” it raises, both while Britain is a member of the EU and after its withdrawal.

    Outside Parliament, Ceta Blockers spokesman Colin Crilly told the Star: “Ceta is on the verge of being signed yet the Commons has not debated it, they keep stalling.

    “The lack of transparency and democracy in this deal shows a contempt for the British people, they think they know best.”

    “But profit is the driving force behind Ceta and corporations will have the right to sue governments that will act on behalf of corporations instead of the people.

    “The NHS is really in the firing line and once it has been privatised it can’t be reversed. Public services are in real jeopardy.”

    http://morningstaronline.co.uk/a-e36b-Tories-to-secretly-pass-Ceta-treaty#.WJl9SPKbIdU

  7. Friday 15th September 2017

    posted by Morning Star in Britain

    A TOXIC trade deal stitched up between the EU and Canada that will force the privatisation of British public services will come into force next week.

    The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (Ceta) would allow private firms to sue the government if it “infringes” on their profits — real or hypothetical — including thousands of US firms operating in Canada.

    It will restrict the ability to bring in laws that raise the minimum wage or improve health and safety at work.

    GMB union international officer Bert Schouwenburg said: “Ceta amounts to a toxic free-trade deal with the US via the back door, given that 85 per cent of US corporations have subsidiaries in Canada.

    “We should not be party to any deals that will tie us in for 20 years, given that we are going to leave the EU and that Ceta is opposed by trade unions on both sides of the Atlantic.”

    http://morningstaronline.co.uk/a-cbfe-Toxic-Ceta-deal-comes-into-force-next-week#.Wbugu8ZpEdU

  8. Friday 15th September 2017

    posted by Morning Star in Editorial

    THE GMB union is right to warn of a “corporate land grab” coming into force in less than a week as the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (Ceta) between Canada and the EU takes effect.

    Ceta has attracted less controversy than its US-EU counterpart TTIP, presumably because of Canada’s cuddlier image compared to that of the overbearing superpower to its south.

    That image is not wholly deserved. Canada has participated in many of the illegal wars launched by the United States, such as those in Afghanistan and Libya.

    Its record on labour law is not good — it has ratified just 34 of the 189 conventions of the International Labour Organisation and the Canadian Foundation for Labour Rights says that Canadians “have seen a serious erosion of … their right to organise into a union and engage in full and free collective bargaining” in recent decades. But the primary problem with Ceta does not lie there.

    The treaty, like TTIP, is not about giving additional power to the Canadian or any other government. It is about empowering corporations at the expense of the public.

    Chapter 8 of the treaty stops governments placing restrictions on what type of company is eligible to deliver what type of service — so a requirement that state-funded schools or hospitals are not run for profit would be deemed illegal.

    The Trade Justice Movement has pointed to numerous anti-democratic clauses in the treaty: article 8.5 “bans domestic content requirements, so governments cannot direct international investment to benefit local communities, for example by requiring investors to make use of local suppliers;” article 8.13 “bans governments from limiting transfers of money and profits, which may make future attempts to limit the use of tax havens more difficult;” “non-discrimination provisions such as clause 19.4 make it difficult for governments to choose a publicly owned operator when deciding who should run a service.”

    It’s capped off by an Investor Court System similar to the more infamous Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanism, allowing companies to sue governments if their profits are put at risk.

    We know how companies use these courts because they already exist under certain agreements. The Swedish energy giant Vattenfall has sued the German government for trying to impose environmental standards on a power plant on the River Elbe, and again for seeking to phase out the use of nuclear power.

    This power to sue the government — ie the public — if a law might reduce profit puts a spoke in the wheel of any attempt to raise labour standards or the minimum wage, as well as any serious bid to address climate change.

    Along with the competition law and restrictive conditions applied to public ownership and investment enshrined in the EU’s Lisbon Treaty, Ceta is part of a long line of international agreements which remove corporate behaviour from democratic control and limit our ability to decide on our government’s economic policies.

    After years of cross-party consensus over screwing the public in this way, Labour has woken up: “We reject the idea of granting multinational corporations their own, separate, private judicial system through which they can sue host governments,” shadow international trade secretary Barry Gardiner has confirmed.

    But unless Labour can take power by next Wednesday, Ceta will be in force and its provisions applicable to our country for 20 years — if we do not prepare ourselves to tear it up.

    There is no breach of faith in annulling a treaty agreed behind closed doors which would never have won democratic assent from the British, Canadian or European public.

    Labour must make it clear that it will do exactly that — and chart a path towards a future where politics serves the people, not big business.

    http://morningstaronline.co.uk/a-4c0d-Ceta-must-be-torn-to-pieces#.WbuibsZpEdU

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