Deciding our Future: NO to the Free Trade Agreement with the EU!

autor: NRO – s. Unterschriften

We, the undersigned organisations – human rights organisations, trade unions, peasant farmer
organisations, indigenous people’s organisations, Afro-descendants, victims of armed
conflict, students’ organisations, women’s organisations, environmental and development
organisations – wish to see a transformation in the existing relations between the European
Union (EU) and Latin America. We stand in favour of trade relations based on
complementarity and rights-based, inclusive development for all regions. We believe that the
free trade agreement (FTA) negotiated by the EU with Peru and Colombia, and also proposed
for Ecuador and Bolivia, is heading in the opposite direction, taking into account that:

– There are dramatic differences between the development level of the economies of
Europe and of the Andean countries. These asymmetries make it possible for the
stronger actor, in this case the EU, to impose conditions in its interest (and particularly
in the interests of its corporations), applying rules that limit the ability of countries to
define their own development models and also, as a result, limiting the well-being of
the majority both in Europe and in the Andean countries.

– The agreement between the EU and the Andean countries was negotiated before the
implosion of the European crisis. As it relates to the present, the agreement proposes
measures such as financial services liberalisation that will deepen the very model that
is in crisis. Such measures are currently threatening not only the real economy but also
the existence of public services such as health and education.

– The agreement will deepen the extractive model of mining in Colombia and Peru, and
their reliance on primary exports, with serious environmental and social consequences
for the land itself and for local communities – consequences which have not been taken
into account in the agreement as negotiated.

– The FTA favours the legal security of investors to the detriment of the rights and
development prospects of the peoples of Latin America. The current provisions on
human rights in the agreement are ineffective, in the same way as those currently in
force under the GSP+ framework. In addition, the benefits that European companies
will obtain will not result in greater well-being or the fulfilment of citizens’ economic
and social rights.

– These agreements were negotiated behind the backs of affected peoples in Latin
America and Europe alike, in the midst of intense social conflict. As a result, the
agreements fail to take into account their views, concerns or interests.

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