28 May 2016
Saturday 28 May 10:30 Schuman Roundabout Alternative action at European Open Doors
14:00 Mont-des-Arts "Time for change in Europe. What’s next? In our out? Assembly and debates
On the 28th of May the European institutions open their doors to the public. Citizens, workers, students and the precarious will be able to experience the privilege enjoyed by the finance and industry lobbies all year long. For the rest of us, however, the doors of European politics remain firmly closed for the other 364 days.
Millions of people in Europe are witnessing how policies coming from « Brussels » are destroying whatever’s left of our basic rights and solidarity (with active collaboration of many local and national political leaders).
We reject these decisions coming from « Brussels » being taken in our name. From Brussels itself, our city, we want to help build the resistance to such a Europe and the world it represents. We believe that combined, our local resistances can serve as building blocks for a common alternative.
1. The imposition of austerity across the continent
As if it is the only political choice possible. But most of all it is a way to make those least responsible for the crisis pay for it. It is stealing from the poor to give to the rich and powerful, the banks and multinationals who continue to live the high life.
2. Laws and policies that protect major financial interests
While tax dodging scandals rain from the skies (SwissLeaks, LuxLeaks, Panama Papers), Europe responds by adopting the Trade Secrets directive to silence whistleblowers. We see a Europe that would rather leave in peace tax practices that suck billions out of the state coffers, billions that could be used to finance social policies for the common good (schools, healthcare, pensions or the ecological transition).
3. An trade policy that supports big agribusiness to the detriment of small farmers, food sovereignty and the planet.
The EU’s export-led agriculture policy supports agribusiness while destroying the very same small farmers who provide healthy food and local supply chains, protect landscapes, the environment and the climate. We’re seeing an opening of markets to GMO
Genetically Modified Organisms
GMO Living organisms (plant or animal) which have undergone genetic manipulation in order to modify their characteristics, usually to make them resistant to a herbicide or pesticide. In 2000, GMOs were planted over more than 40 million hectares, three quarters of that being soybeans and maize. The main countries involved in this production are the USA, Argentina and Canada. Genetically modified plants are usually produced intensively for cattle fodder for the rich countries. Their existence raises three problems.
The health problem. Apart from the presence of new genes whose effects are not always known, resistance to a herbicide implies that the producer will be increasing use of the herbicide. GMO products (especially American soybeans) end up gorged with herbicide whose effects on human health are unknown. Furthermore, to incorporate a new gene, it is associated with an antibiotic-resistant gene. Healthy cells are heavily exposed to the herbicide and the whole is cultivated in a solution with this antibiotic so that only the modified cells are conserved.
The legal problem. GMOs are only being developed on the initiative of big agro-business transnationals like Monsanto, who are after the royalties on related patents. They thrust aggressively forward, forcing their way through legislation that is inadequate to deal with these new issues. Farmers then become dependent on these firms. States protect themselves as best they can, but often go along with the firms, and are completely at a loss when seed thought not to have been tampered with is found to contain GMOs. Thus, genetically modified rape seed was destroyed in the north of France in May 2000 (Advanta Seeds). Genetically modified maize on 2600 ha in the southern French department of Lot et Garonne was not destroyed in June 2000 (Golden Harvest). Taco Bell corn biscuits were withdrawn from distribution in the USA in October 2000 (Aventis). Furthermore, when the European Parliament voted on the recommendation of 12/4/2000, an amendment outlining the producers’ responsibilities was rejected.
The food problem. GMOs are not needed in the North where there is already a problem of over-production and where a more wholesome, environmentally friendly agriculture needs to be promoted. They are also useless to the South, which cannot afford such expensive seed and the pesticides that go with it, and where it could completely disrupt traditional production. It is clear, as is borne out by the FAO, that hunger in the world is not due to insufficient production.
For more information see Grain’s website : https://www.grain.org/. ’s and other chemical products by negotiating free trade agreements like TTIP or CETA, which themselves would undermine any sensible policy to tackle climate change.
4. Violent and cynical migration and foreign policies
Unlike its citizens, EU leaders have proven incapable of taking action to welcome refugees fleeing from war and misery, instead engaging in a cynical horsetrade to keep them out of Europe, while using migration to increase pressure on wages and labour standards… The lofty liberal democratic values used to justify military interventions are quickly forgotten when it comes to erecting new frontiers and barbed wire.
By ignoring the aspirations of the peoples of Europe, these policies are destroying the very idea of Europe.
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