Brussels, 13 October 2015
Faced with an increased offensive from European Union political leaders in issues like free trade agreements, austerity measures and social dumping, the European Coordination Via Campesina (ECVC) is mobilizing and joining Brussels’ action days the 15, 16 and 17 October.
In concert with civil society and labor unions from across Belgium and Europe, peasant farm organizations are denouncing the policies of the EU, inclined towards big capital and multinational corporations. The secretive negotiations around the TTIP free trade agreement (FTA) with the United States are an example of such policies. Our members are raising the alarm, underscoring the threats this FTA represents to the environment, peasant livelihoods and our health.
The harmonization of regulatory norms in the TTIP, such as the precautionary principle, would – in the name of mutual recognition- imply a leveling of food security criteria and thus an end to the moratorium on GMOs, food irradiation and a significant ease in the procedures that authorize pesticides, seeds and veterinary products in the market. The use of non-therapeutic antibiotics as well as of harmful chemicals in the USA meat supply chain would be a threat to the health of EU consumers. Whereas the abolition of tariffs induced by the FTA would be prejudicial to livestock farmers in countries such as France, where cost of production is 20 to 30 % higher than oversees.
But this is not about European farmers vs US farmers. To ECVC representative Hanny van Geel “this struggle is about the defense of farming on a human scale both in the US and in the EU, instead of an industrial farming model that destroys both the environment and people’s health, in which both animals and workers are exploited and trivialized. Already in the Netherlands, plots of more than 1100 dairy cows are being built in this race to the bottom. FTAs like the TTIP and CETA, she adds, destroy all that we cherish. We defend the better, healthier and more efficient alternative: food sovereignty through agroecology.”
The latest decisions taken by European elites -whether it is the TTIP negotiations, the austerity measures or the deregulation of the milk sector- do not respond to the social, environmental and economic crisis shaking up Europe and the rest of the world. Our defense of farmers’ rights and agroecology goes beyond the livelihood of a particular category of people. It is about another model of society that places the health and wellbeing of every human being before profit.
Come join the European Coordination Via Campesina and other civil society organizations challenge the handing over of our food, health and rights to multinationals on the 15, 16 and 17 October!!
For details on the program please go to http://www.ox15.eu/en/actions
Contact: Hanny van Geel: 0031 613903434 (EN – NL)