Today on 23th January 2017, the people-initiatve (Volksbegehren) "against TTIP, CETA and TISA" is launched in Austria.
The 3 trans-atlantic "free trade agreements" for 2-3 years are under massive criticism from a myriad of sceptical organizations – and this to me absolutely justified.
It has been initiated by a group of SPÖ-politicians (Austrian social-democrats-party) from the federal-state of Lower-Austria. But even before the current initiative a massive front of opposition by several and very different political parties, trade-unions and other organizations was formed.
Even Frank Hensel, head of REWE-Österreich, the biggest food-retail-chain in Austria, has clearly positioned himself against TTIP.
Because among my English language blog's audience predominantly consist of non-Austrian people, which can not sign the petition, I am going to focus on explaining the situation here in my country in terms with the trans-atlantic free-trade-agreements.
Especially trans-national corporations and other big business in team with economically-liberal political-parties and other organizations are very much in favour of them.
In contrast most of the parliamentary and non-parliamentary opposition-parties, trade-unions, NGOs, most of alternative media and even SMBs (small & midsize business) firmly reject TTIP, CETA and TISA.
Their main-point of criticism are the so called „arbitration courts“. In fact these are no courts – though they are called so – but rather meeting in between nominated corporate-lawyers, who are making highly questionable deals in back-rooms – under circumvention of the democratic-legislation and jurisprudence.
And this corporate arbitration-regime can sue states to billions of Euros fines, when they lack of profits due to higher social- or environmental-standards of a certain country.
I do fully agree to this enormous threat to our countries, our democracies and our freedom. And that's why I sign the initiative and do recommend all my fellow-Austrian to do so as well.
Although people-initiative's results in Austria are not binding – even not, if more than half of our citizens sign it – gaining many people's support were a strong and very important signal in the public debate at exactly this point of time.
Because as early as in February 2017 the EU-parliament wants to decide about the future of CETA. And many citizens announcing their disagreement with the establishments point of view would give a strong push forward to all forces opposition limitless corporatocracy and would open the door for a fair global trading-system.