European Mayors, Councillors sign Statement against New Generation Trade Deals

March 3, 2017

60 years after its creation, the European Union is now at a crossroads. The different crises facing the EU call for a political response. Faced with such a situation, it must put its fundamental values at the heart of its actions : solidarity, respect of basic freedoms and justice.

New-generation free-trade agreements are only beneficial to a minority in european societies. They go against the most fundamental rights and accelerate the ecological crisis at the expense of future generations. These agreements directly threaten the capacity to build better societies ; to build a socially and environmentally sustainable economy ; the right of citizens to play a central role in democracy, while protecting european regions as commons. The urgency in Europe is to strengthen its economy by reinforcing social, economic, environmental and labour rights – as opposed to further deregulation of markets.

European mayors, councillors and regional representatives met in Barcelona  on April 21-22, 2016 and in Grenoble on February 17, 2017 for roundtable discussions on the impact of TTIP, CETA and TiSA on local democracy and decision-making.

The agreed texts, which are open for more local councils and authorities to co-sign, state:

Barcelona Declaration On Ttip/Ceta-Free Zones 

We the mayors and other local elected representatives participating in the pan-European meeting on Local Authorities and the New Generation of Free Trade Agreements, in Barcelona 21st and 22nd of April 2016, declare that:

The European Commission received the mandate of the member states to negotiate with the United States of America the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership agreement (TTIP), as well as the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement between Canada and Europe (CETA), and the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA). These treaties are being negotiated under total secrecy with no access to the relevant information.

We are deeply concerned that with these treaties, our capacity to legislate and use of public funds (including public procurement) in favour of the people on basic issues such as: housing, health, environment, social services, education, local economic development or food safety, is at severe risk.

Also concerned by the fact that these treaties will jeopardise the democratic principles by substantially reducing political space and restricting the scope for public choices via the implementation of a range of measures that impact local democracy- from the Investor-state State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) and Regulatory Cooperation, to changes in rules for government procurement and public services.

Recognizing the importance of trade of goods and services for the wellbeing of citizens, but stressing the fact that competitiveness and economic growth should not be the only criteria used to determine free trade agreements such as TTIP, CETA and others (such as TISA).

Considering our duty, as elected representatives, to defend local communities and the democratic institutions as spaces for debate and decision-making, and to strengthen public policies defending the citizens, protecting the environment and supporting SMEs and the local economy.

We demand that the current negotiations on TTIP and TISA are immediately suspended and we urge the European Parliament, European Council and national governments not to ratify CETA.

Committed to work in partnership with civil society and other actors to build a trade agenda that respects the people, the planet and guarantees the right to local development. Likewise, we stress the need to initiate a Europe wide partnership of like-minded municipalities who have concerns about the impact of TTIP, CETA and TiSA on their communities.

Expressing our deep gratitude to the city government of Barcelona, through its Mayor, city officials, and people, for the initiative and warm welcome granted to all participants in the first pan-European meeting of Local Authorities and the New Generation of Free Trade Agreements.

 

Declaration of the second pan-European meeting of TTIP-free zones

Grenoble’s Response

 

We, mayors and elected representatives of the cities and regions gathered in Grenoble on February 17 2017 at the 2nd pan-European meeting of cities against FTAs :

  • Acknowledge the ratification of CETA by the European Parliament on the February 15 2017, signifying its temporary application ; we stand united and determined in our decision to fight it, and call upon national governments of member-States to reject the treaty.
  • Local mobilisations must grow more than ever during national ratification periods as democratic debates gain momentum, as negative impacts of this treaty will be felt locally ; citizens can engage in concrete ways, and we will work to achieve this with partner organizations and communities, and continue to expand our network of cities and regions.
  • Only rebuilding democracy and reinventing the relationship with citizens can fight the rise of nationalist and xenophobic ideas – which free-trade deals have largely contributed to. It is time to move from opposition to propositions. We will affirm and build the world that we want to see today.
  • Thousands of initiatives are already set in motion all around us, in cities and regions : we aim to strengthen the cooperation and solidarity between elected representatives, regions, civil society and local economic actors, to promote the necessary alternatives to initiate the transition and pave the way to a fairer world.
  • In order to resist the deregulation of trade and investment, cities and regions must strengthen their resilience and capacity to cooperate to reclaim common goods, find ways to boost local employment, preserve organic agriculture, protect ecosystems, in particular by re-municipalising public services, and by putting forth sustainable and responsible public procurement.
  • We want to define and promote the rules for fair and sustainable trade, in the interest of all – and not only a few.

We, mayors and elected representatives of the cities and regions, gathered in Grenoble on this February 17 2017, aim to contribute to rebuilding Europe together, from the regions, and in cooperation with the citizens that make its strength and energise it, in a democratic and popular way. Another governance is possible, indeed it is already in motion.

We commit ourselves to communicating this declaration, put forward by participant cities and regions, to the authorities of the European Union, national governments, and relevant organizations and institutions.

 

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