Responding to the publication of a Red C survey on EU Trade deals that indicates that 69% of respondents are concerned about the impact of EU trade deals while 74% believe there should be a referendum on such deals, Matt Carthy MEP said the findings “confirmed what we have always said; the more people that become informed about the potential impact of trade deals such as TTIP and CETA the greater the opposition to them becomes.”
Carthy, who represents the Midlands North West constituency, said that it was the fear of citizens becoming informed that led to a European Commission strategy aimed at keeping as many pertinent details from the public as possible. However, several leaks and the ongoing campaign work of organisations across Europe have left that strategy in shreds.
“Citizens across the EU are demanding that they have a say on what many consider to be a dangerous agenda at the heart of trade negotiations such as the TTIP deal with the USA and CETA with Canada.
“A previous poll published last year which indicated high levels of support in Ireland for an EU-US trade deal has been widely cited by Fine Gael representatives. But since then many Irish people have realised that TTIP is not a trade deal in any traditional sense. Rather than being primarily concerned with tariffs these trade deals are largely about eliminating ‘non-tariff barriers’ or in other words, the standards that are aimed at protecting consumers, farmers, workers, small businesses and the environment.
“These poll findings highlight unwillingness among the Irish public to accept a trade deal at any cost. The government must now move to similar ground. Up until this point the Fine Gael government has saw its role as being the PR agents for the European Commission rather than defenders of Irish interests on deals such as TTIP. This needs to change.
“I have commissioned legal opinion which confirms that the investment dispute mechanism within TTIP and CETA is incompatible with the Irish constitution and would require a referendum. Instead of waiting for an inevitable legal challenge, the government should commit to holding such a plebiscite.
“Above all, the Red C poll, commissioned by the campaign group ‘Uplift’ clearly shows that the government needs to change tact with required dangerous EU trade deals. The best opportunity for the government to show it is listening will come when the commission proposal to ‘provisionally ratify’ the CETA trade deal comes before council shortly. Our government must veto any such proposal to ratify this deal until the Dáil has had an opportunity to vote on and discuss all options, including the option of putting the proposal to referendum. Anything less will be a signal that it intends to ignore the clear message that this poll has sent.”