CIVIL societies have join thousands of workers, farmers and campaigners from across Europe, Africa and the Caribbean in coordinated action outside European Commission Delegations to call for a stop to unfair trade deals between Europe and the developing world.
The Pacific Network on Globalisation said civil society groups had called on the European Commission to ensure the Economic Partnership Agreements, which will be completed this year, does not go ahead in its current form.
Other actions, taking place in more than 20 cities around the world, including London, Berlin, Wellington and Honiara, vary from handovers of symbolic keys and padlocks with the message, "Europe Don’t Lock Africa into Poverty" to tug-of-war stunts where campaigners engage in an unequal contest between the large EU and the small Pacific Islands.
Pacific groups argued that free trade deals like those proposed by Europe would destroy livelihoods and the environment and undermine future economic growth, PANG said.
The EU is pushing for unfair trade and has criticised the more development-friendly draft trade proposal put forward by Pacific leaders, PANG said.
"Europe, with an economy 1400 times the size of the Pacific, is taking a very hard line in these negotiations by rejecting most of the Pacific’s proposals.It is vital that the EU starts listening to Pacific voices and works towards an agreement that will help the region make the most of its resources and skills," said Oxfam New Zealand’s Barry Coates.
PANG coordinator Roshni Sami could not be reached for comment but earlier said local and regional civil society groups were aware of how potentially damaging trade liberalisation could be for the Pacific.
Original at: http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=61258