TTIP: Three million people sign petition to scrap controversial trade deal

It will be presented to the European Commission in a few days

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The Independent Online

A petition demanding an end to the secret Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) has reached three million signatures.

The petition is against the controversial EU-US free trade deal and a similar deal between the EU and Canada called CETA. Both deals promise to increase trade by reducing regulatory barriers between trading partners.

But critics point out TTIP’s threat to EU food and environmental safety laws as well as the sovereignty of national governments, which could be sued by corporations in secret tribunals called Investor-State Dispute Settlements (ISDS).

The petition against the deals was launched a year ago by the ‘Stop TTIP’ campaign, a coalition of NGO’s, trade unions and consumer groups.  It reached 3,007,065 signatures this morning, over 500,000 of which came from the UK.

The appeal, which will be presented to the European Commission in a few days, states: “We want to prevent lowering of standards concerning employment, social, environmental, privacy and consumers and the deregulation of public services (such as water) and cultural assets from being deregulated in non-transparent negotiations.”

The petition was originally intended to act as a European Citizens’ Initiative, a formal procedure which should demand a response from the EC if a million signatures are gathered from seven separate member countries. But the Commission rejected the proposal, a move which is now being challenged in the European Court of Human Rights.

Handing the three-million-signature petition to the EC should ramp up the pressure on negotiations already dogged by controversy. Last week the French trade minister, Matthias Fekl, threatened to pull out of talks completely saying the "total lack of transparency" around the content of negotiations posed a "democratic problem".

Nick Dearden the director of Global Justice Now, a campaign group which is part of the Stop TTIP coalition, said: “Three million people demanding an end to the TTIP negotiations shows that the EU does not have the public mandate to continue this deal. People across Europe are standing up to protect our labour rights, our environmental standards and vital public services, like the NHS, from TTIP.”