• France's news in English
 
app_header_v3
French celebs blast EU-US trade treaty
French lumaries have launched a call to end France's involvement in a free trade pact with the US. Photo: Bertrand Guay/AFP

French celebs blast EU-US trade treaty

Joshua Melvin · 10 Jul 2014, 14:39

Published: 10 Jul 2014 14:39 GMT+02:00

One year into the negotiations to create a free trade zone that would span the Atlantic Ocean and some of France’s leading luminaries are demanding Europe should pull out of the talks now.

The 100 performers, writers, political leaders and thinkers are the first signatories of a petition that argues the negotiations over the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), which would create the Transatlantic Free Trade Area (TAFTA), are being done in secret at the peril of France’s future.

“These opaque negotiations are happening behind our back and the backs of Europeans and North Americans,” the collective wrote. “Under the cover of a hypothetical relaunch of economic growth, these negotiations are likely to lower our social, economic, health, cultural and environmental standards.”

"It’s the reason we are calling on French and European members of parliament to put pressure on EU members and the European Commission to disrupt the negotiations," the statement read.

Some of the prominent signatories of the call to action sponsored by the collective “Stop TAFTA” include far-left firebrand Jean Luc Mélenchon, actress Marianne Denicourt and comedian Christophe Alevêque.

Despite opposition, Washington and Brussels hope the free trade deal will deliver a major boost to growth and jobs, especially in Europe where the euro debt crisis has left the economy stuck in the doldrums.

France’s moribund economy and record unemployment has stirred up anger and frustration, which voters have expressed in recent “punishment” defeats for the ruling Socialists in local and European elections.

This proposed accord would be the world's largest Free Trade Agreement, with bilateral trade in goods last year worth some €500 billion ($670 billion), services worth another €280 billion and investment flows hitting the trillions.

The EU says it would add some €119 billion annually to the EU economy and €95 billion for the United States.

However, the personalities who have signed the petition are tapping into a growing portion of the country that has grown wary of the agreement and the cost of the growth it claims to offer.

One worry is that the agreement would pave the way for American food products, like hormone-treated beef and genetically modified corn, which is illegal to grow in France, to more easily enter the European market.  There are also concerns that the lowering of trade barriers would permit large multinational corporation to consolidate their control of certain industries.

Comedian Christophe Alevêque, who's also an activist, believes it’s time for people to stand up to big business.

“The problem is that humanity, the environment, culture and social protections are second to the all mighty market,” Alevêque told French daily Le Parisien.

“It’s these same merchants to whom we’ve given the keys to the house. Now we’re adding a few more keys to their ring. We have nothing left. There must be a firewall, a little bit of control, to make sure humans are a bit more at the centre of our concerns.”

Joshua Melvin (joshua.melvin@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
New app aims to rid Paris pavements of dog poo
Photo: ByeBye Crottoir

No need to watch your step anymore, says this French engineer behind a new app called "Bye Bye Pavement Dog Poo"

Calls in France for English to be ditched as EU language
Photo: AFP

Some in France suggest it's time to end the dominance of English as the EU's working language, now that the UK has voted to leave the union.

Seven tips for selling your house in France
Photo: AFP

After the Brexit referendum there is already talk of British expats in France considering selling up. Here are seven tips put together by an expert.

British businesses in France told to keep calm and carry on
Brits celebrate the Queen's 90th birthday at the British embassy in Paris. Photo: UK in France/Flickr

Brits running their own businesses have been told that despite the Brexit vote, it should be "business as usual".

Paris thieves pilfer luxury watches worth €3 million
Photo: AFP

Another multi-million robbery in the chic heart of Paris.

Price of Paris monthly transport pass to rise
Photo: AFP

Commuting in Paris is set to get pricier.

Opinion - Brexit
Why a Brexit would be a 'windfall' for France
Photo: AFP

A Brexit wouldn't mean the "apocalypse" the doomsdayers are predicting, it would actually be a "tremendous opportunity" for France.

Post Brexit: Paris and London vow to cooperate not compete
Sadiq Khan and Anne Hidalgo vow to work together. Photo: AFP

The mayors of Paris and London have vowed to work together in order to shape the 21st century.

Voters give green light to new airport in western France
Photo: AFP

Will this finally mark the end of years of wrangling and protests?

'We can handle Brexit' insist Hollande and Merkel
Photo: AFP

France and Germany say they are on the same page when it comes to handling the fallout of last week's shock Brexit vote.

Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
National
Mixed reaction from the French as UK votes for Brexit
National
How Brexit could now scupper that dream move to France
Brexit limbo: What happens next for Brits in France?
Gallery
Ten reasons why you should think about becoming French
Sponsored Article
Education abroad: How to find an international school
Analysis & Opinion
Brexit: Life for Brits in France 'will get more complicated'
Culture
20 English words that 'should be banished' from French
National
Best Briehaviour: A guide to French cheese etiquette
Features
And the best city in France for expats to live in is...?
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Society
Forget bikes, Paris is set to roll out scooter rentals
National
'We fear for our safety': French police feel the strain
Lifestyle
Why Rennes (and not Paris) is the best city in France for expats to live
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
National
Why are the French losing appetite for baguettes?
Lifestyle
Naturism booms in France as young eager to ditch clothes
Lifestyle
Is working life better in London or Paris?
National
Dear Americans: Please come to Paris
National
It's official (kind of): French work fewest hours in EU
And the best football fans of Euro 2016 in France are?
National
Paris has wettest spring in 100 years and it's hitting morale
Police murders remind France of complexity of terror threat
National
IN PICTURES: Labour law protests in Paris turn ugly
National
Double murder just latest jihadist attack on French police and soldiers
International
French police appear unprepared for hooligan threat at Euro 2016
Sport
An A to Z guide of what to expect in France for Euro 2016
2,730
jobs available