By Luke Ming Flanagan
The cancellation of tomorrow’s crucial vote on TTIP in the Plenary session of the European Parliament represents a small but significant victory for those of us opposed to this monster deal (in every sense of that phrase) but that’s all it was, a small victory.
The European Parliament – much like our own Dáil – is dominated by what they call the ‘grand coalition’, with the EPP (European Peoples Party – I know, I know!) and the S&D (Socialists & Democrats – even bigger misnomer) combining for a huge majority (412 of the 751 MEPs between them, 221 and 191 respectively). Even with those numbers however, and following the massive people-pressure exerted on MEPs of all parties from right across the EU, they feared being embarrassed, feared that many of the Amendments (including those submitted by the GUE/NGL group, of which I’m a member and to each of which I added my name) watering down or even removing the most contentious elements – such as ISDS – would be carried.
Those two groups, the EPP and S&D, also dominate all the Committees and what’s happening now is that all the Amendments we were due to vote on tomorrow are being referred back to one of those Committees, INTA, the International Trade Committee. The idea is to subvert the Parliament, to work around us by having those Amendments debated in committee and thus deny the Parliament the opportunity of voting on them.
Like so much else around here it stinks but that’s democracy EU-style.
A small victory then and be certain, the large army of corporate lobbyists in Brussels and in very capital city will be working round the clock for the next few weeks to try to get their way. Be certain also, however, we’ll be working against them.
Be most certain of all of this though – ye made a difference, all you who have engaged with this. Stay with it, stay with us. Little by little, we’re tipping the scales in our favour.
NB. We are currently waiting to see will the debate be scrapped altogether tomorrow. It is meant to start at 8am. So not only will we not be allowed to vote on TTIP but now potentially we will not even get to discuss it! Will let ye know in the morning.