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April 17th to put focus on farmers’ struggle against TTIP and “free” trade agreements

17 April 2015 @ 0 h 00 min BST

Press Release, 16 April 2015

To mark International Day of Farmer and Peasant Struggle tomorrow, farmers’ movement Via Campesina, lobby watchdog Corporate Europe Observatory, and Belgian social alliance D19-20 areorganising a lobby tour around the Brussels EU district tohighlight the impact of trade agreements on small-scale agriculture.Starting at 11.30, the tour will highlight how trade agreements such as TTIP, CETA and TPP put the rights of big business over all other concerns. We will visit various lobby offices and EU institutions where officials are preparing the next round of EU-US trade negotiations (starting 20 April in Washington DC).

The impact on farmers will be the focal point, with farmers representatives from EU countries such as Spain, Portugal and the Netherlands participating. Wisconsin farm activist Jim Goodman will join from the US. The farmers will be available for interview and comment with interpretation on offer.

Hanny van Geel of ECVC says: “TTIP will destroy many farms both in Europe and in the USA. Foodproduction will become completely industrialised with migrant labour, slavery like. Rural employment and peasant agriculture will disappear. Good, healthy local, real, qualityfood will no longer be available for the people. The environment will suffer from chemicals, gmo’s. soildegradation and loss of biodiversity. DG Agri should stop the negotiations and rescue and develop our valuable peasant foodsystem. We need fair markets instead of free trade. The people should benefit instead of the transnational corporations.”

Nina Holland of Corporate Europe Observatory, member of  D19-20 says: “TTIP is a dream tool for agribusiness lobby groups to slash food safety rules, and to thwart efforts by communities and farmers in Europe and elsewhere to arrive at a sustainable and socially just food system. However, these lobby groups do not like to be brought into the spotlight, and that is what we will do during this lobby tour.”

April 17th is the International Day of Farmer and Peasant Struggle of the global farmers movement La Via Campesina. This lobby tour will be part of a series of activities in Brussels  that come ahead of 18 April’s Global Day to stop free trade and investment deals which will see thousands of demonstrators take to the streets of Brussels.

For more information or registration for the tour please contact: nina@corporateeurope.org

Notes to the editor:

*Since 1996 – in honor of the 19 landless peasants massacred in Brazil – the International Peasant Movement has marked April 17th as a global day of action and mobilization. It is a day to celebrate and strengthen people’s solidarity and resistance, and to deepen the alliance between city and countryside in support of a project based on social justice.

*TTIP: Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership – EU-US trade agreement currently under negotiation

*CETA: Comprehensive Trade and Economic Agreement – EU-Canada trade agreement

*TPP: Trans-Pacific Partnership – a proposed EU-US regional regulatory and investment treaty

Via Campesina International Day of Peasant Struggle site: http://viacampesina.org/map/17april/map.html

Global Day of Action 18 April:

A full programme of activities during 17 and 18 April in Belgium can be found here: D19-20:

Press Contact :
ECVC- Marzia Rezzin : +32 (0)  473300156

CEO – Lora Verheecke : +32 (0) 486 31 00 34

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17 April 2015
0 h 00 min BST
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