As a member of the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) “Stop TTIP,” UK WILPF is helping gather a record-breaking number of signatures ahead of a critical vote on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) in the European Parliament. At the time of this publication, the ECI “Stop TTIP” campaign has two million signatories, the largest ECI since the instrument’s introduction in 2012.

In order for an ECI to be successful, half this number would suffice. Moreover, Stop TTIP has collected the required minimum number of signatures in 14 EU Member States, double the amount needed to receive an official response from the European Commission and a hearing in the European Parliament.

On 10 June 2015, the European Parliament will vote on a resolution concerning TTIP.

Anne Scott, Secretary of UK WILPF, said, “We call on the European Parliament to reject TTIP because it is a threat to our democracy as well as to protection standards for labour rights, the environment and public health. WILPF is concerned that women will suffer disproportionately both as users and as employees of public services if TTIP is accepted.

In April 2015, WILPF International passed a resolution on protecting democracy and the public interest from secret trade agreements. As well as rejecting the investor-state-dispute settlement (ISDS) aspect of TTIP, WILPF believes the agreement will exacerbate global warming and extreme weather events by increasing long-distance transport of goods through the moving of jobs and manufacturing to countries with low labour standards and environmental laws.

WILPF calls for the immediate public release of the complete text of TTIP; the rejection of the Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions; and fair trade based on human rights, democratic principles and social, economic, gender and climate justice.

Michael Efler, a member of the Stop TTIP’s Citizens’ Committee said, “The European Parliament should take a clear stance against the investor-state-dispute-settlement (ISDS) part of TTIP. Allowing corporations to sue governments in private courts for practically any state action that interferes with investments and lowers their expected profit is a practice that would undermine the rule of law and democratic principles.

“All the improvements to ISDS that have been proposed by the European Commission and European Social Democrats are insufficient. The problem remains that ISDS would constitute a parallel justice system for investors that would be unnecessary, dangerous for democracy and could prove very costly for taxpayers. If no clear statement against ISDS is included in the resolution, the European Parliament would do better to reject it all together.”

Last autumn, the European Commission rejected Stop TTIP as an official ECI. The alliance is currently challenging this decision in the European Court of Justice and is meanwhile carrying out the ECI signature collection on a self-organised basis.

Stop TTIP is currently an alliance of more than 470 civil society organisations across Europe, and signature collection will continue until 6 October 2015.

The full text of WILPF’s resolution is available online here:

http://www.wilpfinternational.org/wilpf_statements/resolution-on-protecting-democracy-and-the-public-interest-from-secret-trade-agreements/

Download the press release.