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(en) LAN press release - Fortress Europe and the Nice Treaty

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Wed, 16 Oct 2002 14:59:12 -0400 (EDT)


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Press Release - Oct/16/2002

    Libertarians against Nice 

   Fortress Europe and the Nice Treaty

---

Over the last 15 years or so EU states have been 
gradually increasing cooperation and attempting 
to establish common policy and law on areas 
related to immigration and asylum. Successive 
agreements, treaties and 'action plans' have led 
to the creation of Fortress Europe, causing 
thousands of deaths of refugees and asylum 
seekers and as well as criminalising and 
marginalising immigrants within the EU.

One such EU policy is the containment of 
refugees and migrants within their home regions, 
regardless of the human cost. One of the 
strategies to achieve this has been to target 
migrants' country of origin and force their 
governments to cooperate in "migrant 
management". In the recent EU summit in Seville 
it was agreed that in future all EU agreements 
with non-EU states are to: "include a clause on 
joint management of migration flows and on 
compulsory readmission in the event of illegal 
immigration" (para.33).. "In the event" that 
there is an: "unjustified lack of cooperation" 
in joint management of migration flows, the EU 
may apply direct pressure through agreements on 
trade, aid and assistance coupled with political 
and diplomatic sanctions.

Deirdre Hogan of Libertarians Against Nice said

"Thousands of people have died so far trying to enter 
Fortress Europe. According to UNITED, a European 
anti-racist network, more than 2000 refugees and 
migrants have died in and around Europe since 1993 as 
a result of European refugee policies. Details of the 
2042 cases are available from their website 
(http://www.united.non-profit.nl/pages/List.htm).

One of the provisions which will change from 
unanimity to qualified-majority voting, in the 
Nice treaty and which is relevant to Fortress 
Europe is the provision on the "economic, 
financial and technical cooperation with third 
countries" (Article 181a). If the Nice treaty is 
passed, decisions to, for example, impose 
sanctions on third world countries if they 
refused to cooperate with "migrant management", 
would have to be accepted by all member states 
if the European Council agreed on it."

--- ends --


    Nice and the corporate agenda:
    The changes to article 133

---

Nice and the corporate agenda: The changes to article 133

One notable feature of this Nice referendum is 
that for the first time corporations are openly 
involved in calling for a Yes vote.  The short 
walk in Dublin city from Grafton Street to O' 
Connell street reveals posters from IBEC, IFSC 
and the Construction Industry Federation.  The 
Small Firms Association also came out for a yes 
vote.  There has been almost no discussion of 
why these bodies are taking such a prominent 
position by the media, instead we are to believe 
that they are concerned for the workers of 
Eastern Europe.

The reasons are found in the changes made by the 
Nice treaty to Article 133 of the Treaty of the 
European Union.  Despite the efforts of many 
Anti Nice campaigners to get discussion of these 
changes into the Nice debate the media has 
refused to cover them, perhaps the fact that 
much of the media is also corporate owned is not 
irrelevant here.  The referendum commission has 
also failed to inform Irish voters of this issue 
despite a picket on their offices by NGO's.  So 
what is being hidden?

The World Trade Organisation admitted the 
importance to it of the changes to Article 133 
in it's June 2002 'Trade Policy Review of the 
European Union' in writing "Of particular 
significance to the WTO is the exclusive 
Community competence that would apply to 
negotiations of agreements that concern services 
(with certain exceptions), and the commercial 
aspects of intellectual property rights upon 
ratification by all Member States of the Treaty 
of Nice."[i]

The changes to Article 133 will mean that the EU 
Council and Commission will be responsible for 
the negotiation of trade deals rather then the 
national governments of the EU. Why would the 
WTO be keen on this? Perhaps one clue is found 
in the Seattle talks where "without consulting 
and over the objections of civil society and EU 
member states, the European Commission announced 
its support for a Biotechnology Working Party, 
causing 15 EU trade ministers to issue a joint 
statement of disagreement"[ii].

The new paragraph 5 confirms the suspicion that 
the WTO is one of the "international 
organisations" that the EU commission will be 
able to  make agreements with as it makes it 
explicit that these provisions "shall also apply 
to the negotiation and conclusion of agreements 
in the fields of trade in services and the 
commercial aspects of intellectual property". 
These lay at the heart of the Seattle round of 
WTO talks. Services in this context includes 
essential public utilities such as water 
delivery and electricity generation and supply, 
in fact over 160 services have been named by the 
WTO. Services also include postal services, 
finance and banking, and telecommunications 
services. The WTO agenda is to force 
privatisation of such sectors in particular by 
prohibiting public funding or subsidies for 
them. And there is big money to be made by the 
corporations here. In 2000 it was estimated that 
"Global expenditures on water services now 
exceed $1 trillion every year"[iii].

The Intellectual Property referred to in Article 
133 is not just the copyright of books and 
records. It is also the patents owned by the 
super profitable drug corporations. The WTO 
grants them a global 20-year monopoly over the 
drugs, which they develop, and provides for 
trade sanctions against any country which 
doesn't protect this monopoly. Just before the 
last Nice referendum they attempted to use their 
'Intellectual Property rights' to stop the 
import of cheap anti AIDS drugs into Africa. 
They backed down, for the moment, and in that 
case alone, due to the public outcry and the 
fact that the documents they would have had to 
produce in court would have revealed the scale 
of their profits to an already hostile public.

The attempt by the drug companies to do this was 
deeply unpopular in Ireland. But 'qualified 
majority' would have allowed the Irish 
government to publicly oppose the drug company 
agenda only to be outvoted at the EU council and 
then be part of implementing sanctions against 
these countries. In recent years the government 
has become increasingly adept at the tactic of 
saying one thing to NGO's or for public 
consumption before implementing quite 
contradictory policies. The Intellectual 
Property provisions might also mean in the 
future that medical companies would win the 
'right' to buy patient related databases off 
hospitals.

Andrew Flood of Libertarians Against Nice said

"There is a corporate agenda of privatisation 
buried in the Nice treaty in the changes to 
Article 133.  This is why corporations based in 
Ireland are arguing so hard for the treaty - 
they recognise that it promises them super 
profits.  Ordinary Irish workers should beware 
when they see organisations like IBEC, the IFSC, 
the Small Firms Association and the Construction 
Industry Federation spending a lot of money in 
arguing for a Yes vote.  We should look at what 
these same organisations have to say on issues 
like the minimum wage and compulsory redundancy 
payments.  The Nice treaty is about creating a 
bosses Europe, we should therefore reject it".

More information on the Nice and Fortress Europe at 
http://struggle.ws/ireland/nice/analysis/fortress.html

Libertarians against Nice
http://more.at/stopnice


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