INSIDE THIS ISSUE
The Barcelona Breakthrough
The European Union (EU) summit in Barcelona could have been just another EU summit. Heads of State met to finalise plans to make the EU the world's most competitive economic bloc, agreeing, amongst other things, on the next steps in creating privatised energy markets across the EU. But one thing set this summit apart from the others - it became the scene of the largest ever demonstration against the EU and neoliberal globalisation. Between 300,000 and 500,000 peaceful protesters filled the streets of Barcelona on the last day of the summit, silencing the harbingers of doom who predicted the end of the global justice movements after September 11. So what made such an event possible? We asked Ramón Fernández Durán, Madrid-based author and activist with Ecologistas en Acción. | Read More |
TABD Takes Up Arms
Following a leadership crisis that lasted several months, the Transatlantic Business Dialogue (TABD) was restarted by a new team in April 2002. Over 100 of the largest EU and US-based corporations work through the TABD to get rid of government regulations and policies which they consider "barriers to transatlantic trade." The two new co-chairs are Mike Turner of BAE Systems and Philip Condit of Boeing Corporation, representing two of the world's largest arms producers. A range of other arms producers have joined the TABD ranks in a new working group on "security", which will focus on "ways to capitalise on the new awareness of the importance of the security sector," following September 11.  Despite flagging interest of US business, the TABD seems to have retained its influence on high-level policymakers, particularly in the European Commission.  Working groups on EU-US 'regulatory co-operation' and on the new WTO round have continued to push their agenda and have booked major successes. | Read More |
Leaked Confidential Documents Reveal EC`s Neoliberal GATS Agenda
A series of leaked confidential documents, prepared by the European Commission for the WTO negotiations on liberalisation of trade in services (GATS 2000) are now available on our GATSwatch website. The released documents contain the requests that the European Commission is proposing to make for removing or adapting laws and regulations that restrict trade in services in 29 WTO member states, including the US, Japan, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, South Korea China, Egypt, and India. The request lists confirms the EC`s intentions to use the GATS talks to deregulate and de facto privatise essential services, particularly in the South. They reveal the EC`s obsessive pursuit of the interests of large EU-based corporations and the hypocrisy of its proclaimed commitment to sustainable development. | Read More |
Rio+10 and the Privatisation of 'Sustainable Development'
As the preparations for the Johannesburg summit advance, a corporate dream scenario is about to unfold. Instead of effective political action to solve the world's most pressing social and ecological problems, such as rules to control corporations, the summit is likely to focus on promoting 'public-private partnerships'. These projects, for instance between governments, NGOs and corporations, will be included in the Johannesburg declaration, thus becoming official outcomes of the summit. Industry expects a long list of greenwash projects to get the ultimate seal of approval in Johannesburg, including controversial initiatives like the Mining, Minerals and Sustainable Development (MMSD). | Read More |
This issue of the Corporate Europe Observer is brought to you by Belén Balanyá, Ann Doherty, Olivier Hoedeman, Adam Ma'anit and Erik Wesselius. Editing and layout by Karen Grant.