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News 06 May 15

Croats Join Protests Against Atlantic Trade Deal

Following protests held across Europe against the signing of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, TTIP, activists in Croatia held their own rally on Wednesday.

Sven Milekic
BIRN
Zagreb
Trojan Horse on Zagreb's central square.

A protest against the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, TTIP, nicknamed “Beware of the Trojan Treaty,” gathered around 100 protesters in Zagreb, Croatia, on Wednesday.

Like others around the EU, the protest in Zagreb aims to raise awareness of what activists claim is the harm that the TIPP will do to the interests of society.

The TTIP is a proposed free trade agreement between the EU and US, designed to encourage multilateral economic growth and job creation.

If the EU Council of Ministers approves the agreement, the European Parliament must then support it - or not. After its decision, the EU member states must ratify the agreement at national level.

The organisers of the Zagreb protest, Green Action, Friends of Earth, and other NGOs dealing with the topic, claim that the agreement “puts the interests of corporations before the interests of society, health and the environment.

Hrvoje Radanovic from Green Action.

To symbolize the hidden risks of signing such an agreement, the organizers are bringing in an eight-meter-high Trojan Horse.

“The TTIP is represented as something positive that will have positive effects on the economy and pull us out of recession, but it conceals numerous threats to our health, environment, workers’ rights and the remains of democracy that we still have,” Hrvoje Radanovic, from Green Action, told BIRN, explaining the use of the Trojan Horse symbol.

Radanovic said the most problematic aspect of the agreement was that it was being discussed almost exclusively behind closed doors.

The TTIP will lead to deregulation and a lowering of standards in five key categories, according to activists.

These are: food and agriculture; protection of the environment; labour legislation; financial regulation; and data protection.

Protesters holding signs against GMO, chemicals 'private tribunals'.

According to the protesters, one of the most harmful aspects of the TTIP mechanisms is the investor-state dispute settlement, ISDS.

This would enable corporations to by-pass national legal systems and seek financial compensation against states in international courts.

Activists also say the deal will increase the imports of oil and gas produced in the US.

Croatian citizens will be invited to sign a petition against the TTIP started by the European Citizens’ Initiative, which has collected around 1.7 million names across the EU.

Protests against the TTIP were organized in April in Helsinki, Madrid, Munich, Sofia, Brussels and other European cities.

Some local and regional governments in France, Germany and Austria have said they support the activists in their campaign against TTIP.

Anti TTIP protest in Sofia in April.

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