Border crossing Lichtenbusch/Aachen on 25 January 2019 (Lichtenbusch, 25.01.2019) With their tractors, farmers from 17 European organisations and two umbrella organisations are demonstrating together with civil society actors for an EU trade policy that is fair and climate-friendly around the globe. For a Europe with solidarity. No relaunch of TTIP.
Today’s demonstration at the German-Belgian border saw 20 tractors roll up from different EU countries. The tractor drivers were backed by some 100 farmers from France, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Belgium and Germany alongside members of civil society groups. Farmers’ organisations from Lithuania and Switzerland support this demonstration.
With the demonstration, the participating organisations want to voice their disagreement with the EU’s current trade policy: the EU, they say, has entered into various free trade agreements, such as with Canada (CETA) and with Japan (JEFTA), and is negotiating others, e.g. with the Mercosur countries – Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay –, with New Zealand and Australia, and with many others. At present, the EU is pushing ahead with a relaunch of the negotiations between the EU and the USA (TTIP). The EU is also negotiating trade agreements with some of the poorest countries of the world, mainly in Africa, i.e. the so-called “Economic Partnership Agreements” (EPAs).
“These trade agreements lead to agricultural products being dumped even more on other markets as well as to important environmental and labour standards being weakened and multinationals becoming even more powerful” warns Erwin Schöpges, President of the European Milk Board (EMB). That is why during the border demonstration the European alliance symbolically buried the treaties of these new and harmful trade agreements.
After that, farmers from different EU countries solemnly signed the European farmers’ declaration, which was hanging up on a giant banner. Their aim is to put pressure on Europe to promote a new trade policy that favours fair farm-gate prices and fair working conditions, climate and environmental protection, animal welfare, high-quality food and food sovereignty.
A new EU Parliament will be elected in May this year. The European alliance demands to bury the unfair and corporate-friendly trade policy and to stand up for the demands of the alliance. These are important common signals for a Europe of solidarity and sustainability and against populism and nationalism.