This briefing updates the July 2016 report ‘Border Wars: the arms dealers profiting from Europe’s refugee tragedy’ . It shows that the European policy response to the refugee tragedy continues to provide a booming border security market for Europe’s arms and security firms, some of whom are involved in selling arms to the Middle East and North Africa and all of whom encourage European policies focused on keeping refugees out. It’s a win-win for the security corporations, but the cost is a deadly toll for migrants forced into ever more dangerous routes as they flee wars, conflict and oppression.
The EU's reputation for clean and sustainable energy conceals a dirtier reality, particularly where renewable energy policies and development are driven by corporate interests. Today, nearly two thirds of all “renewable” energy in the EU comes from bio-energy. Although bio-energy appears to provide a sustainable alternative to fossil fuels, there are serious questions about its actual emissions profile, and about environmental and social conflicts which are created or exacerbated by the industrial-scale production of biomass to meet European energy needs.
The European Union’s approach to bioenergy is shaped by contradictory policies. Climate concerns are highlighted in public discourse and assure broad public support for renewable energy, including bioenergy. Meanwhile, however, the EU’s corporate growth and trade agenda promotes the use of energy that actually increases the EU’s footprint on land elsewhere, with significant implications for environmental and social justice.
In Europe, land speculation and land concentration are an increasing threat to small and medium sized family farms and new entrants. Soaring land prices make it increasingly difficult for farmers to have access to land. In the meantime, investors are buying up enormous pieces of land, sometimes using legal loopholes. Land is increasingly becoming a globally tradable commodity and an object of financial speculation. Examples such as Scotland and Andalusia, where arable land, pastures and forests are highly concentrated since centuries, show the negative effects for sustainable rural development and societies as a whole.
Between 4 and 6 July, over 750 activists, academics, social movements and civil society representatives from all over Asia and Europe gathered in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia to share national and international struggles, exchange ideas and build new alliances during the Asia-Europe People’s Forum(AEPF).
In an astonishing move which ignores the opinion of millions of citizens who oppose ISDS, the governments of Austria, France, Finland, Germany and the Netherlands (AFFGN) have made a sly attempt to institutionalise ISDS throughout the European Union. According to a leaked non-paper, on the 7th April representatives of these five nations made a proposal to the EU Council’s Trade Policy Committee which would in effect create a plurilateral treaty based on foreign investment protection within the EU. A move which was suspiciously followed by publication of a similar proposal on Business Europe’s website in what appears to have been a coordinated action.
In February 2016 the second Voedsel Anders conference brought people together to build new connections and relationships within the food movement in the Netherlands, Belgium, and around the world, and to begin working towards a shared agenda and strategy for the movement. Over a thousand participants, some returning and some attending for the first time, gathered in Wageningen to discuss food system problems and solutions, plant the seeds of new ideas, build new connections, and grow the movement.
Against all expectations, financial capital has emerged even stronger after the financial crisis having staved off regulation and putting the blame on public spending. But its victory is likely a pyrrhic one as a new crisis looms, one in which the global public could learn from victories such as reforms in Iceland and finally reassert its control over money.
In the era of globalisation, the steady removal of decision-making from democratic chambers by EU elites is serving as a blueprint for post-democratic governance around the world. Progressives must be ambitious and start putting forward ideas for a democratic world government as a viable alternative.
Malta Today - The transatlantic trade and investement partnership (TTIP) between the European Union and the United States aims to increase economic growth and job on both sides of the Atlantic. However, critics say the TTIP agreements threaten public services.