In Greece, standing against free trade agreements is standing for the planet

TTIP Free Zones Europe | 7 June 2016

In Greece, standing against free trade agreements is standing for the planet

A few days ago (30/5/2016), the municipality of Aristotle —at the north east of Halkidiki peninsula— declared itself as TTIP and CETA free. This area is worldwide known as the birth place of the Greek philosopher Aristotle the one who gave his name to the city. Recently, the excavation of his tomb has been announced at the ancient city of Stagira.
Not distant from the site the city hosts a controversial open pit gold mine, source of social division and antagonism for the local community.

The mine is operated by Hellas Gold, a coalition between Ellaktor —a Greek contracting company— and the Canadian transnational corporation Eldorado Gold who holds 95% of the investment. It is worth to mention that Eldorado Gold owns all gold-mining projects in Greece.

The mine faces a strong opposition from the local community and environmental activists since the beginning of the project.

Eldorado is planning to clear-cut a large part of old-growth forest and reengineer the local water system in order to build a massive open-pit gold and copper mine, along with a processing plant, and a large underground mine.

The Canadian company is not only destroying a historic heritage, but also threatening public health with water and air pollution by contamination of cyanide and asbestos, generating deforestation and many other environmental degradations. More over the small scale local traditional economic activities such as fishery, beekeeping, livestock farming, olive oil production and tourism are under threat too.

Until now, transnational corporations, especially the mining companies are responsible for many ecological disasters. Moreover Canadian mining firms according to a global study are the worst offenders of working conditions, human rights and other abuses around the world.

The economic model they’re carrying is not sustainable at all, thousands of local communities worldwide stand against extractive activities. Their opposition is strong and it happens that some local or national governments understand their demands and start controlling the mining companies’ activities. But how governments could control big transnational companies if they risk to be sued under ISDS (or ICS)? How could they develop new rules, if transnational companies are consulted before parliaments through the regulatory cooperation procedure?

That is why CETA and TTIP are bad for the peoples’ right to self-determination, democracy, social and environmental justice... And that’s why local governments all over Europe are standing against these dangerous trade deals.

Aristoteli joined a growing movement of local authorities opposed to CETA and TTIP to deny the building of a polluter’s paradise. Everywhere where transnational corporations attack the peoples and the planet’s rights, people stand to oppose that.

Citizens, local elected, trade unionists, members or civil society organization... the people opposing TTIP and CETA are various and millions. Join them, declare your city and your county as TTIP and CETA free, so, together we can stop these deals.