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Blackwater Valley Environmental Justice

Urgent Action 17 November 2000


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Treaty of Nice

An EU Intergovernmental Conference (IGC 2000) is due to take place in Nice next month (7-8 December 2000) to review the Amsterdam Treaty (the one after Maastricht). It will force through a number of controversial measures which will go much further than Maastricht in setting up a European superstate.

Measures we are likely to see are a European Army, relaxation of the veto in many policy areas, including the important area of taxation, an EU police force Europol, with the power of arrest in any EU country, the establishment of European parties that have to agree to the European ideal.

One of the items on the agenda is for the Commission to take over the right of negotiation in international affairs, matters that would normally be the prerogative of sovereign states. These matters will not be referred back to member governments let alone parliaments for ratification. If the Commission is successful, it will be the Commission, and not member states, who will determine policy in these areas.

In common with many NGOs we we wish to see the WTO abolished as we believe it is beyond reform. The EU wish to see it strengthened and are pushing for a new round post Seattle debacle. At Seattle the EU negotiators tried and failed to push through a position on GM that had not been agreed by member states. The areas over which the Commission is demanding sovereignty include investment, intellectual property rights and the trade in services (eg water, education and health). These three areas could have a devastating impact on third world countries.

As a sop, the EU will 'consult' the European Parliament. This will be no more than an exercise in pretend democracy (in reality a rubber stamping exercise), and is no substitute for proper scrutiny by the parliaments of member states.

Through organisations like the European Roundtable of Industrialists (an influential lobby group of around 45 European transnational companies) big business has unprecedented access to and influence over the Commission. ERT policy documents reappeared in different guises as the Maastricht Treaty, single currency and the trans-European transport infrastructure.

Investment, intellectual property rights and the trade in services, is effectively to push through the back door of WTO MAI Mk II. We said No to MAI, said No New Round at Seattle, we can say No again.

At a time when we wish to see both the WTO and the EU slowed in their tracks it is important that we say No. It is important that we convey this message to Trade Secretary Stephen Byers. It is vital that neither the EU nor the WTO with their lack of democracy and transparency are given further powers over our lives.

	The Rt Hon Stephen Byers MP
	Secretary of State for Trade and Industry
	1 Victoria Street
	LONDON  SW1H 0ET

WDM have produced a standard letter to send to Stephen Byers.

Please send copies of your letters to your MP and MEP so that they know the level of objection to this transfer of sovereignty.

Contact Ecoropa for information on activities during IGC 2000:

	+33 143383817		ecoropa@magic.fr

Background information:

Belen Balanya et al, Corporate Europe Inc, Pluto Press, 2000

Kevin Danaher & Roger Burbach (eds), Globalize This!: The Battle Against the World Trade Organization and Corporate Rule, Common Courage Press, 2000


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