Tag Archives: European Union

As CETA Rises from Ashes, Campaigners Vow: ‘The More You Insist, the More We Resist’

Belgium delegates reached 11th-hour consensus, which grants the Court of Justice of the European Union the ability to rule on final inclusion of ISDS

By Lauren McCauley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-27-2016

Campaigners protested the Canada-European Union trade agreement outside the European Commission on Thursday. (Photo via Corporate Europe/Twitter)

Campaigners protested the Canada-European Union trade agreement outside the European Commission on Thursday. (Photo via Corporate Europe/Twitter)

The controversial Canada-European Union trade agreement that many declared “dead” now appears to be rising from the ashes, as officials announced Thursday that they have reached a last-minute consensus.

Earlier this week, trade delegates from the Belgian region of Wallonia rejected the Comprehensive Economic & Trade Agreement (CETA) out of concern that certain provisions, particularly the Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) system, inflate the power of multinational corporations and undermine standards protecting labor, the environment, and consumers. Continue reading

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After Brexit, European Left Calls for ‘Massive Political Opposition’

‘What Europe needs more than ever to avoid a slide into a xenophobic, deflationary, 1930s-like abyss’

By Nadia Prupis, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-24-2016

Photo: Amnesty international via Twitter

Photo: Amnesty international via Twitter

In the tumultuous aftermath of the UK’s vote to leave the EU, the European left is responding with a mix of reason, measured reassurances, and righteous defiance.

Left Unity, a populist UK political party, released a statement early Friday morning that criticized the right-wing organizers of the Leave campaign and vowed to “step up the fight against neo-liberalism here—opposing all cuts, defending the NHS [National Health Service], fighting for decent housing—and across Europe.”

“In Brexit Britain, we still face austerity, poverty and extreme inequality: the rotten policies of our government are still here,” Left Unity’s executive committee said. “We deeply regret that the working people of Britain have been deceived and manipulated into believing that Brexit will bring about relief from the grinding austerity that is destroying lives and communities.” Continue reading

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‘Climate of Xenophobia’ Gripping Europe, UN Official Warns

UN refugee chief warns of ‘worrying’ atmosphere as Brexit referendum puts immigration attitudes in spotlight

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-19-2016

Demonstrators rally in support of refugees in London on 12 Sept. 2015. (Photo: Ilias Bartolini/flickr/cc)

Demonstrators rally in support of refugees in London on 12 Sept. 2015. (Photo: Ilias Bartolini/flickr/cc)

As more details indicate the killing of British lawmaker Jo Cox was politically motivated, the United Nations Refugee Agency head is warning of a “climate of xenophobia” gripping Europe.

Speaking to Agence France-Presse in Tehran on Saturday, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said, “Refugees… don’t bring danger” but “flee from dangerous places.”

He put responsibility on the shoulders of national leaders, saying that those who don’t talk about the benefits of immigration but instead “stir up public opinion against refugees and migrants have a responsibility in creating a climate of xenophobia that is very worrying in today’s Europe.” Continue reading

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BOMBSHELL: WikiLeaks Exposes IMF Plan of Financial Terror to Force Government Compliance

By Jay Smyropolus. Published 4-4-2016 by The Free Thought Project

SM15 IMFC

Photo: IMF

WikiLeaks has once again exposed how supranational organizations create artificial crises in an effort to advance the Western corporate-political elites geostrategic goals, as revealed in the transcript of a teleconference, which took place on March 19, 2016, between top International Monetary Fund (IMF) officials.

The striking conversation reveals IMF officials imply that the threat of an imminent financial disaster was necessary to force other stakeholders into accepting the IMF’s “measures” such as cutting Greek pensions and working conditions. However, a June 23 referendum will essentially freeze European decision-making at an extremely critical moment – potentially risking greater political destabilization, but also giving the organization greater leverage. Continue reading

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Europe’s Controversial New Plan to Deal With the Refugee Crisis

By Michaela WhittonPublished 3-9-2016 at The AntiMedia

Refugees at Vienna West Railway Station, 2015. Photo: Bwag (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Refugees at Vienna West Railway Station, 2015. Photo: Bwag (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Leaders at the emergency E.U. summit, focused on stemming migration to the European Union, have agreed in principle to a bold exchange plan. The proposals state that all new irregular migrants (those without correct documentation) crossing from Turkey to Greece will be returned to Turkey with the E.U. meeting the costs. In exchange for each person re-admitted by Turkey from the Greek islands, a Syrian from Turkey will be admitted to the E.U. Member States.

Nearly 6o million people are currently fleeing conflict and persecution around the world in the biggest refugee crisis since World War II. Over a million migrants and refugees crossed into Europe in 2015, and according to International Organization for Migration (IOM), total arrivals in Greece and Italy have already reached an estimated 141,141 in 2016. Despite newly deployed NATO vessels designed to thwart people smugglers, migrants and refugees continue to arrive daily on the Greek islands from Turkey — which are already host to some 3 million Syrian refugees. Continue reading

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As Schengen Crumbles, EU Rallies Demand #SafePassage for Refugees

With global displacement crisis threatening Europe’s open borders project, protesters call for legal and safe routes for those fleeing war

By Deirdre Fulton, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-27-2016

In 2016, more than 300 people have died in the Aegean sea alone, says Doctors Without Borders. (Image: @MSF_Sea/Twitter)

In 2016, more than 300 people have died in the Aegean sea alone, says Doctors Without Borders. (Image: @MSF_Sea/Twitter)

With refugees dying by the hundreds and stranded by the thousands, people across the EU and beyond rallied on Saturday for “safe passage.”

“No more bracelets! No more confiscations! No more borders closed!” organizers said in a call-to-action online. Events big and small were planned for 115 cities in 28 countries.

“These people are running away from death,” the statement continued. “We cannot allow them to die in front of our eyes! We cannot allow them to be held in inhumane camps when they came looking for freedom and safety! We cannot watch our Europe fall apart!” Continue reading

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Trade Officials Promised Exxon That TTIP Will Erase Environmental ‘Obstacles’ Worldwide

EU trade officials soothed the oil giant as it fretted about new regulations popping up in Global South

By Lauren McCauley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-23-2016

The revelations underscore criticisms that trade agreements like the TTIP constitute a "race to the bottom" for environmental, public health, and labor standards. (Photo: Holger Boening/cc/flickr)

The revelations underscore criticisms that trade agreements like the TTIP constitute a “race to the bottom” for environmental, public health, and labor standards. (Photo: Holger Boening/cc/flickr)

Newly released documents show that, in back-room talks, European officials assured ExxonMobil that the pending US-EU trade agreement would force the removal of regulatory “obstacles” worldwide, thus opening up even more countries to exploitation by the fossil fuel empire.

Heavily redacted documents pertaining to an October 2013 meeting, obtained by theGuardian and reported on Tuesday, reveal that then-trade commissioner Karel de Gucht met with two officials from ExxonMobil’s EU and U.S. divisions to address the benefits of the TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Continue reading

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European Groups Expose ‘Terrifying Extent of Corporate Grab’ Within TTIP

‘The ability to enact effective and fair tax systems to finance vital public services is one of the defining features of sovereignty,’ says Global Justice Now—one that is threatened by corporate trade deals

By Deirdre Fulton, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-15-2016

Mexico has been successfully sued by a consortium of U.S.-based agribusiness giants, after introducing a new tax on the sales of soft drinks containing high-fructose corn syrup in an effort to counter the obesity epidemic. (Photo: Hernán García Crespo/flickr/cc)

Mexico has been successfully sued by a consortium of U.S.-based agribusiness giants, after introducing a new tax on the sales of soft drinks containing high-fructose corn syrup in an effort to counter the obesity epidemic. (Photo: Hernán García Crespo/flickr/cc)

Even with global inequality at historic highs and corporate tax evasion in the public spotlight, a new report out Monday shows how a so-called free trade deal between the U.S. and European Union could further threaten tax justice, hampering governments’ ability to ensure that critical public services are well funded or to pursue progressive tax practices.

According to the London-based Global Justice Now and the Netherlands-headquartered Transnational Institute, the TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) “would massively increase the ability of corporations to sue member states of the EU over measures such as windfall taxes on exceptional profits, or use of taxation as a policy instrument such as a possible ‘sugar tax’.” Continue reading

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Minority Rules

Billboard for António Costa, leader of the PS. Photo by El-Kelaa-des-Sraghna (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Billboard for António Costa, leader of the PS. Photo by El-Kelaa-des-Sraghna (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

On October 4, Portugal had a general election. The results were mixed, with the center-right Forward Portugal alliance (PAF) winning the most seats, but losing its actual majority in parliament. The majority of the seats were won by left of center parties, the largest of which is the Socialists (PS) followed by the Left Bloc (BE) and Communist (PCP) parties.

Thursday night, President Anibal Cavaco Silva said that he would not allow a coalition of the PS, BE and PCP to form a government, arguing that it was too risky to let the Left Bloc or Communists come close to power. He said:

“In 40 years of democracy, no government in Portugal has ever depended on the support of anti-European forces, that is to say forces that campaigned to abrogate the Lisbon Treaty, the Fiscal Compact, the Growth and Stability Pact, as well as to dismantle monetary union and take Portugal out of the euro, in addition to wanting the dissolution of NATO.

“This is the worst moment for a radical change to the foundations of our democracy.” Continue reading

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Welcoming refugees: our future is common

The EU’s external borders are rapidly becoming untenable. Rather than resist, Europe should embrace its future as a continent of great diversity.

By Jerome Roos. Published 10-13-2015 at ROAR Magazine

Refugees-Welcome

The “refugee crisis” of recent months has split Europe in two. But unlike the liberal press would have us believe, the main dividing line runs not between those states (like Germany) that have taken a more humane approach to the crisis by accepting more refugees, and those (like Hungary) that have shut their borders and cracked down violently on anyone attempting to cross them.

Rather, the real schism is the one between states and institutions that jealously guard their borders, clinging on to an exclusionary territorial logic that is rapidly becoming untenable, and the ordinary people on the ground – refugees, activists and locals alike – who are self-organizing solidarity beyond borders and creating a radically different kind of Europe from below. Continue reading

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