This morning, the European Crop Protection Association (ECPA) and CropLife America (CLA) – two trade associations representing big pesticides companies – were awarded the Democracy for Sale Awards  for their attempt to use the negotiations for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) to shape current and future pesticides regulation.
The awards scheme highlighted how the ongoing negotiations are conducted behind closed doors, hand in hand with big business lobby groups. ECPA and CropLife America received the award for their relentless efforts to bring EU and US pesticides safety regulation to their lowest common denominator, enabling their member companies, which include Monsanto and Syngenta, to market toxic and polluting pesticides.
Lora Verheecke, trade campaigner and researcher at Corporate Europe Observatory said “Big pesticide companies and the European Commission have worked hand in hand to move TTIP along, despite growing concerns among US and EU citizens that lower safety standards in the agreement will expose them to dangerous toxics in food. ECPA has won the award but other big business lobbies have also been every bit as successful in side-lining public demands and pushing their profit-only interests through TTIP and CETA”.
Annette Sawatzki, campaigner at LobbyControl said: “The award highlights how TTIP undermines democracy even long before the agreement might be concluded or ratified. The persisting lack of transparency in the negotiations remains a scandal, and even more so as obviously health and democracy are on the table, as if they were commodities for sale.”
Fabian Flues, trade campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe said: “The Democracy for Sale Awards reveal why trade agreements like CETA and TTIP need to be stopped. They are designed to benefit multinational corporations on both sides of the Atlantic to the detriment of people and the environment. The wide-spread resistance to these corporate trade deals shows that they have no place in democratic societies.”
If the pesticides lobby continues to have privileged access on the negotiations for TTIP, the EU can look forward to increased amounts of pesticide residue on food; use of carcinogens, hormone (endocrine) disrupting chemicals (EDCs), and pollinator-killing pesticides; less public access to information on pesticides; and more industry influence in the decision-making process, pushing greater risks onto consumers.
Julia Krzyszkowska, campaigner at WeMove.EU said: “Almost 45 thousand people from 32 countries voted for their least favourite of the lobbies buying up European democracy, coming together in this ironic action to highlight a very real problem of excessive corporate influence over policies that affect all of us, across Europe and beyond.”
ECPA received its awards in a red-carpet ceremony with drums beating and trumpets sounding, top hats and appropriate amounts of glitter. The group was also charged to transmit its award to CropLife America, its US counterpart. The award ceremony happened on the first day of TTIP Game Over Round 2.
NOTES ECPA and CropLife received 15027 votes out of 44 381, outcompeting by far the other nominees. The lobby groups nominated were BusinessEurope and the US Chamber of Commerce; the European Chemical Industry Council (CEFIC) and the American Chemistry Council (ACC); the European Services Forum (ESF); the European Crop Protection Association (ECPA) and CropLife America (CLA); the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA); the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA).