At the Asia Europe People’s Forum in Brussels we interviewed civil society activists from across Asia, to find out more about the damaging impacts of free trade agreements on the everyday lives of people in their countries.
The neoliberal FTAs pursued by the EU with Colombia and Peru threaten to exacerbate human rights abuses - which include killings of trade unionists, forced expropriations of indigenous people from land, and environmental destruction - for the sake of corporate profit.
The role of major supermarkets like Tesco in wiping out small retailers across Europe is well known. Now the giants have India in their sights. For a country in which small-scale retail employs 33 million people, what kind of impact will this have?
Ben Hayes, Praful Bidwai, Susan George, Walden Bello
29 September 2010
Ahead of the Asia Europe People's Forum (AEPF) which coincides with the official ASEM8 summit this year in Brussels, four TNI scholar-activists - Susan George, Praful Bidwai, Ben Hayes and Walden Bello - discuss some of the key struggles facing citizens from both regions.
The language contained in agreements being negotiated by the EU through the WTO with their southern counterparts often deliberately diguises real political goals, obscuring the negative economic implications for those countries of the neoliberal agenda.
There are many important factors to consider when speaking broadly of China's role in Africa, and one should avoid falling into the trap of simplistic comparisons with historic African-European relations.
Despite repeated democratic rejection of the Lisbon Treaty, the European Commission pushed ahead with it via the EU Constitution via a private, technocratic and non-democratic process. Susan discussed the treaty and its implications in a workshop at the EA4 summit in Madrid, 15 May 2010.
"The banks are ours!" Public money was used to bail out the banks, and now they are lending back to the public at interest, while governments ignore the social and environmental crises that confront society. It is time to demand real solutions that will work not only for the sake of the economy but for the lives and conditions of people on whom it depends.
Susan George appeared on the major French radio network France Inter to debate the financial crisis and regulation. Her most recent book "Their Crises, Our Solutions" has been published in French ("Leurs Crises, Nos Solutions"); the English version is due to be published in September.
This year's Madrid summit marks a key milestone in the ongoing development of the Enlazando Alternativas network for both highlighting EU complicity with human rights and environmental abuses and highlighting the real alternatives offered by social movements of integration and development that respect the rights of people, communities, and protect the environment.
Call to all the social networks and organisations, trades unions, political forces and civil society movements to join the Peoples' Alternative Summit in defense of peoples' sovereignty, human rights, participatory democracy, labour rights, the rights of women and indigenous peoples, social justice, the defense of the environment in the face of climate change, and the establishment of peace.
In the context of the current state of European-Chinese relations and the limited influence of European NGOs on EU policies, this book discusses the challenges and dilemmas of co-operation between European and Chinese civil society organisations.