More than fifty farmers and concerned citizens asked European Commission department responsible for agriculture, on the 17th of April, an end to EU-US talks on a transatlantic free trade deal (TTIP). On the eve of the latest negotiation round in New York on 20 April, they are demanding to see Zoltan Somogyi, the co-lead negotiator on agriculture.Friday, 17 April 2015 Brussels, Belgium Farmers and citizens demanded DG Agriculture to stop free trade talks More than fifty farmers and concerned citizens asked the European Commission department responsible for agriculture, on the 17th of April, an end to EU-US talks on a transatlantic free trade deal (TTIP). On the eve of the latest negotiation round in New York on 20 April, they are demanding to see Zoltan Somogyi, the co-lead negotiator on agriculture. “ TTIP – as well as its little brother CETA – will have a devastating impact on small farmers and our food on both sides of the Atlantic. ” said Hanny Van Geel, member of the European Coordination of Via Campesina . “ Our position is very clear: the promotion of industrial farming and GMOs is undermining our struggle for an alternative food system. That’s why we’re here to tell Zoltan Somogyi that all of these free trade treaties need to end. ” “ In the USA, family famers, trade unions, consumers and environmental organizations strongly opposed TTIP. This not transparent negotiation will export in Europe the non- healthy food system we have in the USA, along with its agro- industrial model non respectful of the EU standards ”. said Jim Goodman, farmers in the USA, and member of the National Family Farm Coalition - Via Campesina USA . “ In 1965, in Japan, 73% of the food production was local production. This percentage lowered to 39% in 2010, and it will be 14% if TTIP will be concluded. The effect of TTIP could be the same on many European nations. As a consequence, most of the family farmers will disappear and with them, the right to feed yourself “. This event is part of the International Day of Peasant Struggle, organised annually by Via Campesina, and the day before the Global Day of Action to Defeat Trade and Investment Treaties, on April 18. It was in the frame of the lobby tour of the European Quarter, highlighting how the trade talks are being driven by big agribusiness. “ Right from the outset, the European Commission has been championing the interests of big business, granting privileged access to agribusiness and food and drinks industry representatives. ” said Nina Holland of Corporate Europe Observatory , a member of D19-20. “ The Commission is completely ignoring the voices of farmers and citizens. ” As well as demanding an end to the negotiations, some of those entering DG AGRI are also launching their own citizens' public consultation in situ, making up for the fact that 92% of all meetings and consultations carried out by the Commission have been with big business. “ The Commission refuses to listen to ordinary people, but the noise we're making – here in Brussels and across Europe - is becoming impossible to ignore. ” said Myriam Djegham of MOC (Mouvement Ouvrier Chrétien ), a member of D19-20. “ Those assembled in DG AGRI are making it clear they reject these unjust and untransparent free trade deals, and on the 18th of April thousands will be taking to the streets around the world to make our message louder and clearer. ” The action kicks off a weekend of events organised by D19-20, Tout Autre Chose, Hart Boven Hard and Les Acteurs des Temps Presents. This Saturday 18 of April, the final demonstration, through Brussels and into the heart of the EU Quarter, will begin at 14h00 at Rue Pletinckx 19, 1000 Brussels. Press contacts: - Hanny Van Geel (EN, NL), European Coordination of Via Campesina, 0031613903434; email@example.com - Lora Verheecke (FR, EN, ES), Corporate Europe Observatory and member of D19-20, +32 (0) 486 31 00 34; firstname.lastname@example.org - Thomas Englert (FR, NL, EN), JOC and member of D19-20, +32 (0) 479 32 95 41 Notes to Editor The scheduled events at Rue Pletinckx 19, 1000 Brussels are following: o Friday 17th April: 18h30 - public debate with Belgian political parties o Saturday 18th April: 10h-12h – debates and workshops o Saturday 18th April: 12h30-13h30 – Assembly o Saturday 18th April: 14h00 – main popular demonstration - The following evening will be a concert and entertainment at the occupied fields in Haren, http://haren.luttespaysannes.be/bientot/article/17-19avril-keelbeek-alive?lang=fr - For more information on the International day of peasants struggle, see http://viacampesina.org/en/index.php/actions-and-events-mainmenu-26/17-april--day-of-peasants-struggle-mainmenu-33 - For more information on the Global Day of Action to Defeat Free Trade and Investment Treaties, see https://www.globaltradeday.org/ === List of concerns shared with the DG AGRI TTIP negociator : TTIP, CETA and Co Undermining Food Sovereignty Threatening peasant farming and high quality food TTIP (“Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership”) is a proposed “free” trade agreement between the EU and the US. CETA (Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement), its “little brother” is a free trade and investment agreement between the EU and Canada. Both will have an important impact on food and farming systems on both sides of the Atlantic. Our concerns: TTIP will Promote industrial farming Support the interests of agribusiness and big landowners Threaten the survival of small family farms, especially meat and dairy farmers Harm local food initiatives Affect or even impede initiatives for green and fair public procurement Erode standards for healthy and safe food Even the path for GM-food and GM seeds in Europe Threaten quality labeling and geographical indications Impede farmers from practicing farmers’ rights on seeds Undermine our struggle for an alternative food system Therefore: Engage yourself in stopping this unnecessary, unjust and undemocratic treaty! Let’s stop TTIP, CETA and Free Trade Agreements We need Food Sovereignty and managed Trade for more farmers and better food.
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