Van Dijk: 'Stranglehold Agreement TTIP will put an end to democracy’

23 May 2015

Van Dijk: 'Stranglehold Agreement TTIP will put an end to democracy’

On Saturday afternoon a demonstration took place in Amsterdam against the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, a proposed treaty between the European Union and the United States which will undermine social standards and curtail democrpatic rights. The SP was represented at the demonstration and SP Member of Parliament Jasper van Dijk was amongst those who addressed the crowd gathered on Amsterdam’s Beursplein. This is an extended summary of what he said:

It’s good that you’re all here to protest against this treaty. To make Europe and America into a single immense market is a stupid plan. It will lead to a lowering of standards, because if you harmonise rules, there’s always a loser. Worse still, American products will simply be admitted as a result of mutual recognition, and this will become a race to the bottom. We will literally adopt US conditions. With chlorine chickens, shale gas and foods that serve only to make you fat. Good for corporations, bad for your health.

Foto: SP
Photo: "Trade Treaty? Stranglehold agreement!"

TTIP is the starting signal for a deadly competitive struggle. US firms pay lower wages and offer worse working conditions. European firms will have to match these if they want to survive.

Look at NAFTA. Hundreds of thousands of jobs lost. That will happen also with the TTIP. It’s an economic NATO.

Then there are the secretive Investor State Dispute Settlement tribunals. Corporations will be able to sue countries if they feel they are disadvantaged by legislation. It couldn’t get any crazier. Governments will be reticent when it comes to new laws. Before you know it you’ll be facing a claim for millions. It’s already happened in the case of Philip Morris in Australia, with Vattenfall in Germany, and with Achmea in Slovakia. TTIP will make this that much worse. Why can’t companies take governments to an ordinary court? Why must that occur in shadowy tribunals behind closed doors?

As for the negotiations, what exactly is on the table here? There’s no intention for us to know, but rather that we go peacefully to sleep until the treaty is completed. And perhaps then our parliament will be asked to approve it. Possibly. That’s not at all certain. But you know how it will go. You’re not happy about the treaty, but what you’ll hear is that we really can’t renegotiate. There are parties who say, first we want to see the treaty, and then we’ll decide our position. But that’s naïve.

So that’s why this protest is right, because we can still say:

Halt the negotiations! Stop this stranglehold agreement! If not, the least we demand is a referendum, which seems wholly appropriate in the case of such a far-reaching treaty.

Because TTIP is a corporate attempt at a coup d’état aimed at destroying democracy, and we won’t stand for it. As long as the negotiations continue, we’ll continue taking action. Spread the word, and mobilise.

We’ll make sure that there’s no TTIP.

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