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The problem with deepening the transatlantic bond (point 2), in commercial terms, has been quite worrisome for European civil society. If such deepening indeed means signing deals such as TTIP and CETA, the EU must make sure it is really listening to citizens when negotiating. The problem with such agreements hasn’t only been related to some of their clauses, including the one on investor-government dispute arbitration – that effectively would allow corporations to sue governments… The whole process has not been transparent enough, and there has not been a proper public debate on the issue. When Wallonia dared stand against CETA, many Member-States reacted negatively. At times Wallonia was really bullied. Well, there is your recipe for alienating citizens. Are citizens really opposed to trade deals? No. Are they opposed to secret negotiations and corporations becoming Leviathans? Yes. Point 9 is quite urgent, so long as it translates into effective and mandatory measures applying to companies. Regulations should prohibit the import of goods that contain slave labour in them. The USA have such legislation. Modern slavery, mainly consisting of forced labour, is rampant worldwide, with about 40 million people estimated to be affected, mostly in Asia and Africa. The EU should actively help fight human trafficking and modern slavery in the world. Points 4 and 5 are indeed important. But the EU must stop exporting arms. No compromises; no if’s or but’s. The EU must also stop importing blood oil and other resources financing conflict and human rights abuses.
Hi David and Jamel. The issues you both present are important. The so called migrant and refugee crisis that has been unfolding must definitely be a priority for EU policy at the moment. Sometimes, I have the feeling that EU institutions are too soft towards right-wing extremism and European governments that are leaning too much to the right. And populism is quite effectively preventing a strong response from the EU as a whole to help refugees arriving to Europe. As Jamel recommends, more must be done in the countries of origin of migrants and refugees. But in the case of the latter, I don’t think that it would make a difference on the short or even medium terms. It remains to be made clear by the European media that refugees are not a sub-group of “migrants” but a whole different group of people that urgently need, and are entitled to, international protection. There is a strong legal basis for helping refugees and the whole issue shouldn’t be allowed to become so politicized by demagogues and populists. At the same time, this doesn’t mean that we should ignore the plight of animals. I am quite convinced that animals have fundamental rights, such as the right to life and the right not be tortured. Tom Regan’s philosophy on this subject is particularly interesting, and I recommend it. Maybe it is time for the EU to start preparing a Animals Fundamental Rights Charter, that would, similarly to the one that already exists for humans, set a cornerstone for policies and practices regarding animals when it comes to EU legislation and other initiatives. Also, the EU could dedicate a humble amount of diplomatic work with countries around the world that maintain institutionalized cruelty to animals (think about South Korea, China, or other parts of the world). Kind regards
- This reply was modified 1 year ago by Yavor Hadzhiev. Reason: Corrected and clarified the text