Matt Carthy MEP calls for referendum on controversial trade deals
Speaking at the Sinn Féin Summer School in Baile Bhúirne, Co Cork today, Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has said that while globalisation had brought positive benefits, it has also been a negative force by strengthening the power of corporations at the expense of citizens.
Carthy, who shared a platform discussing globalisation with Nasos Iloupolous of the Syriza party in Greece, Brigitta Jonsdottir of Iceland's Pirate Party and Dr Cara Augustenborg of Friends of the Earth, also reiterated Sinn Féin's call for a referendum in Ireland on the controversial CETA trade deal.
"Globalisation has brought many benefits to people around world. However, neo-liberal ideology, which has dominated the approach of the institutions of global governance and of powerful states, has meant that globalisation has sustained and increased inequality.
"Globalisation has seen the relationship between the west and its former colonies evolve, but that relationship has yet to become one of equality.
"There needs to be fundamental reform to put democracy and accountability at the heart of institutions of global governance.”
Carthy said there was a real danger that, unless politically progressive forces provided a coherent alternative to neo-liberal globalisation, it could lead to a continued momentum for a right wing backlash.
This, he said was already evidenced by Brexit, the election of Donald Trump and the rise of far right parties in Europe.
"Globalisation must change in order to tackle climate change and deliver a more equal distribution of wealth or face being crushed by a backlash from those who turn inwards because they feel helpless and hopeless as their incomes and quality of lives decline.
"Sinn Féin believes in trade justice, fairness and debt cancellation as well as a global response to climate change.
"I believe that, while we are not at the end of the story of globalisation, we have reached a tipping point.
"Those, across the globe, who believe that another, fairer world is possible, must work together to achieve it."
The Midlands North West MEP reiterated his call for a referendum in Ireland on EU trade deals such as TTIP and CETA saying:
"The European Court of Justice has said that new Free Trade Agreements can only be concluded by the EU and Member States acting together. It has ruled that the regime governing dispute settlement between investors and States cannot be established without the Member States consent.
"This reinforces legal opinion, prepared for me, that outlines that a constitutional referendum will be required in Ireland on the recently concluded EU-Canada trade agreement (CETA) due to the inclusion of the anti-democratic Investment Court proposal before the Irish Government can sign up to it.
"It is now clear that the EU Commission is not competent to conclude free trade deals like TTIP and CETA on its own. It must act jointly with national parliaments and governments, giving them a much increased role in the process.
"The Irish Government must therefore review its position on a referendum on the CETA and specifically the inclusion of an Investment Court that would allow corporations sue governments for enacting progressive legislation, if it impacts on profits.
"The Irish Government shouldn’t have to be brought to court themselves in order for that referendum to be held."