The unnecessary haste with which the government and the majority are proceeding with the ratification of the Ceta treaty between EU-Canada yesterday led thousands of people to protest in Piazza Montecitorio in Rome.
The unprecedented coalition of Coldiretti, campaign Stop TTIP Italy, CGIL and ARCI, ADUSBEF and Consumers Movement, Legambiente, Greenpeace, Slow Food, Consumers Association, ACLI Earth and Watch Fair was joined yesterday by 300 mayors from Pistoia in San Marzano sul Sarno, and the Veneto regions (also present governor Zaia), Lazio, Puglia, Piedmont, Liguria and Lombardy.
Right and left, civil society, unions and industry organizations reiterated their opposition to a free trade agreement that, apparently, eliminates duties and creates a common transatlantic competition platform between farmers, European agricultural businesses and North American companies.
In fact, the latter would benefit by forcing the European ones to respect the “rules.” Only in 2015, for example, the European Official Journal has added 151 linear kilometers of new rules, for a volume of 30,092 new pages.
Monica Di Sisto (Stop TTIP) says: “The treaty contains technical inaccuracies. Because of this, nor Italy or other European countries will be able to use it for their exports before 2018. Let’s reopen a national and European consultation, the one we missed in recent years due to the lack of transparency of the negotiations.”
The governor of Lazio Nicola Zingaretti does not partake on the Italian ratification of the agreement – expected between July 25th and 27th in the Senate. He tweeted: “Say no to Ceta, let’s make parliament do the same.” The governor of Veneto Luca Zaia said: “A government that is close to the election date cannot assume the responsibility of saying “yes” to a penalizing agreement like this one.” Emiliano’s Puglia junta argues that “the agricultural sector will suffer great damage.”
“We must defend the local producers who are already working in difficult conditions,” said the mayor of Pistoia Alessandro Tomasi; in his territory, producers make extra-virgin olive oil, the Tuscan finocchiona IGP, sheep cheese and chestnut flour. Cosimo Annunziata, mayor of San Marzano sul Sarno, quoted the EU Commissioner Phil Hogan, who said that the San Marzano tomato “can also be cultivated in Belgium.” “We do not want products treated with pesticides grown in Canada to compete with our excellence. Our ministers in Brussels count as much as a minority counselor. I am very afflicted.”
In Piazza Montecitorio, a stand showed the imitations of national specialties, cheeses and sausages, made in Canada. There were signs like “No to Fontina Made in Canada”, “Do not sell off our historic brands,” “The Canadian Parmigano Cheese humiliates Italy.”
Coldiretti asserts: “The Ceta opens the door to the invasion of Canadian wheat, the most widespread crop in the weaker parts of the country and gives the green light on imports at zero duty for about 75,000 tonnes of pork meat and 50,000 of beef from a country where growth hormone, banned in Italy, is used.”
Some other slogans straddled on the protest, from the protection of “food sovereignty” to the rhetoric of the “Made in Italy,” accompanied by thoughts of a renewed adjustment of globalization and the protection of workers’ rights.
The secretary general of the CGIL Susanna Camusso said: “We have to preserve what we have achieved over the years for companies, for agro productions of excellence and for the rights of workers and employees.” “The deal is a blow to the rights of the working world. And behind it, there are interests of multinationals. Why do the Democratic Party and the government want to ratify it?” added Nicola Fratoianni (Sinistra Italiana).
The consortium of Prosciutto San Daniele and the one for Modena’s balsamic vinegar have a different opinion. According to them, the agreement protects Italian products and limits the phenomenon of “Italian sounding” goods. And, in proof of the fact that there is no consensus on the effects of Ceta, Slow Food thinks the opposite. Slow Food’s Vice president Cinzia Scaffidi says: “The Ceta is neither good nor clean nor fair.”
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