Press Release

Tuesday 28 October


Pictures of the ceremony available from: http://www.alexandreseron.be/ - credit: alexandreseron.be

BRUSSELS, 28 October - Seattle to Brussels network campaigners [1] today (Tuesday 28th October) called on Trade Commissioner Baroness Ashton to end the unholy alliance between DG Trade and business lobby group BusinessEurope with a mock wedding celebration outside BusinessEurope's Going Global conference event.

The ceremony took place outside the Charlemagne Building, the official home of DG Trade and the venue for BusinessEurope's "Going Global" conference on the Global Europe Strategy of international trade. According to the Seattle to Brussels network, the conference reflects the close working relationship established between DG Trade and BusinessEurope over the Global Europe trade strategy, which has seen business interests prioritised over the needs of the world's poor and the environment [2].

Olivier Hoedeman from Corporate Europe Observatory, a member organisation of the Seattle to Brussels network said:

"The Commission seems to be so intimately involved with business lobbyists that they have given them privileged access in putting together the Global Europe strategy. The result is a trade policy that prioritises big business at the expense of almost every other sector. It is the world's poorest, the environment and society who are paying the price."

BusinessEurope's involvement has also been criticised by Swedish MEP Jens Holm (GUE/NGL) who last week sent an open letter to the new trade Commissioner, Baroness Catherine Ashton, asking her to remove BusinessEurope's conference from the Charlemagne building [3].

Campaigners say that with a new Commissioner in post, it is time for DG Trade and the Commission to break away from the undemocratic liaison with business lobbyists and to develop a more sustainable approach to trade.


[1] The Seattle to Brussels (S2B) Network (www.s2bnetwork.org) is a pan-European network of more than 70 organisations from 16 countries campaigning to promote a sustainable, socially and democratically accountable system of trade. The S2B Network is part of the global coalition "Our World is Not for Sale" (www.ourworldisnotforsale.org).

[2] Global Europe: An Open Door Policy For Big Business Lobbyists At DG Trade, a research paper by Corporate Europe Observatory, October 2008. See http://www.corporateeurope.org/docs/GlobalEurope-OpenDoors.pdf

[3] Open Letter to the New Commissioner: Business Europe Out of Charlemagne Now!, open letter by Swedish MEP Jens Holm, 22 October.