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26 April 2016

European mayors, councillors sign statement against new generation trade deals

Barcelona Declaration calls for suspension of TTIP, TiSA talks, and to halt CETA ratification

ADVISOR ON INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY AND ACCESS TO KNOWLEDGE GREENS/EFA, EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT

European mayors, councillors and regional representatives met in Barcelona on April 21-22, hosted by the mayor’s office, for roundtable discussions on the impact of TTIP, CETA and TiSA on local democracy and decision-making.  

Over 40 cross-party representatives from the cities of Madrid, Edinburgh, Grenoble, Brussels, Amsterdam and Vienna to name a few, joined forces in Barcelona to pen a declaration slamming the deals and the lack of consultation local authorities have had regarding their content, despite the clear impact they have on issues like public services, procurement and local job creation. Many cities had previously passed "TTIP-free zone" motions in their local councils.

The agreed text, which will be open for more local councils and authorities to co-sign, states:

‘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.’ 

‘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.’ 

New network launched

The two day meeting explored the growing resistance to these deals across the continent, with a special emphasis on CETA which will come to the European Parliament for ratification by the end of 2016. Green MEPs Yannick Jadot and Ernest Urtasun, as well as Ecolo spokesperson Florent Marcellesi were also present for the discussion, and called on local authorities to help them at EU level to defeat these agreements.

The investor-rights clause in the Canadian deal raised particular concern, given the controversial history such mechanisms have had on preventing or derailing legislation to help local economies or communities, as well as the cost of ISDS cases brought against states by foreign investors.

Many representatives called for further collaboration going forward, with the cities of Grenoble and Brussels next on the event list for the autumn. A pan-European website, listing the hundreds of authorities that have declared themselves TTIP, CETA, TiSA free can be found here

The full text is available here or below. 

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.

Barcelona, Spain, 21st of April 2016

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