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11 September 2014
Rejected: Commission scuppers European Citizens’ Initiative on TTIP, CETA
The European Commission announced today that is has rejected a proposed European Citizens' Initiative on the EU-US and EU-Canada trade deals, citing that it ‘falls manifestly outside the framework of the Commission's powers’.
An alliance of European campaigners proposing the ECI had hoped to publicly launch their call for signatures later this month. An ECI requires one million signatures from at least seven member states in order to receive a hearing in the European Parliament and a review by the Commission. However, the Commission has the ability to accept or reject the motion on legal grounds before it is initiated.
Over 200 organisations across Europe had supported the campaign, a clear sign that the public are becoming more aware of the risks associated with agreements like TTIP and CETA. Today, John Hilary, director of War on Want and member of the Stop TTIP campaign said:
"This is an outrageous decision by the European Commission. These trade deals are already facing unprecedented opposition for their secrecy and unaccountability, but now we are denied even the right to petition our own EU leaders. An unelected executive, facing growing vocal opposition, has put his hands over its ears. “
The Greens/EFA Group in the European Parliament had pledged to actively support and campaign for signatures over the coming months. The ECI presented a real opportunity to raise awareness of the threats the deals pose and engage the public in actively petitioning the EU institutions on the issues they care about. Yannick Jadot, trade spokesperson for the Greens said today:
"The Commission is seeking to block-out the voice of European citizens by refusing to admit this Citizens' Initiative. Despite the selective reasoning given by the Commission for not admitting the initiative, nobody should be in any doubt that this is a politically-motivated decision. The Commission does not want to be inconvenienced by having to confront the reality of massive public opposition to the TTIP negotiations.
"This cannot stand. Incoming commission president Juncker has made clear that the concerns of citizens must be taken into account and we call on him to overturn this decision and ensure the citizens' initiative goes ahead.
"There is a large and growing sense of unease and concern among the European public and civil society about the ongoing TTIP negotiations. This concern reflects the broad scope of the negotiations and their possible implications on European standards, and is reinforced by the opaque negotiation process. The voices of these citizens must be heard and we will work to ensure today's setback is not the final say.”
Read the European Commission's refusal of the proposed European Citizens' Initiative: