On the occasion of the EU-CELAC Summit
In Brussels, 8–10 June 2015
On 10 and 11 June, Heads of State and Government from the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (In Spanish CELAC) and the European Union (EU) will meet in a Summit in Brussels. The Summit is taking place in a context in which the situation in Europe expresses how the 2008 crisis is far from an end. As a response to this situation, important social mobilizations that have resulted in the election of Syriza in Greece and that could lead to the possible election of Podemos in Spain, together with the recent Blockupy demonstrations against the European Central Bank (ECB) in Frankfurt and against the TTIP in several European capitals, demonstrate that the people of the region are resisting and propose alternatives to the austerity measures and neoliberal policies imposed by the EU.
In Latin America and the Caribbean, several progressive governments questioned the neoliberal model, with strong popular support, putting a stop to the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas (FTAA) in Mar del Plata 10 years ago. Nevertheless, the persistence of economic policies that favour transnational corporations (TNCs) – with a particular focus on unbridled resource extractivism – has eroded popular support for these governments. The global economic crisis wave is now hitting harder several countries in the region, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has started to pressure for “reforms”, allegedly to restore growth.
Despite the successful peoples’ campaigns against the FTAA and to derail the WTO, the bilateral trade negotiations are currently underway and being signed by countries and regional blocs with serious repercussions on EU-CELAC relations. TTIP, CETA and TISA type agreements offer TNCs greater power to take states to court as well as easier access to markets, thereby destroying local economies.
These market-based strategies are being used to maintain and intensify the historical legal asymmetry, according to which TNCs need only to respond to voluntary norms when it comes to international human rights law, while profiting from binding legal frameworks, which undermine the democratic laws that could protect the public interest. Recent events could contribute to counteract this asymmetry: in June 2014 the United Nations Human Rights Council adopted a resolution (A/HRC/26/9) proposed by the governments of Ecuador and South Africa to create a legally binding instrument regulating the actions of TNCs in relation to human rights. This first step forward was achieved despite opposition from the European Union, and thanks to the pressure of social movements organised under the Treaty Alliance, and among others the “Global Campaign to Dismantle Corporate Power and Stop Impunity”. As a result the states leading the process will be holding their first session at the United Nations in Geneva from 6 to 10 July 2015.
The movements promoting the Campaign are organising these Days of Mobilization on the occasion of the EU-CELAC Summit to strengthen and give visibility to existing resistances, struggles and alternatives and to promote new initiatives that allow us to move away from the system led by corporate power and trade and investment agreements, and towards the defence of human rights and peoples sovereignty. To achieve this we are working together with civil society organisations and trade unions from Belgium, and other countries in Europe and Latin America, as well as with Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) and national Parliaments.
We invite you to a public event on 8 June to launch the Days of Mobilization, followed by mobilization activities on 9 and 10 June in the Maison des Associations in Brussels. On the afternoon of 9 June and the morning of 10 June, self-organised activities will be incorporated into the program. On 10 June the activities will close with an Impunity march/tour promoted by local movements in Brussels.