JUDGES have stamped on a European Commission attempt to shut down debate over two toxic international trade deals which could wreck public services across the European Union.
The EU-US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) give multinational corporations the right to sue over government legislation which affects profits, such as minimum wage policies.
The deals would force governments to invite corporations to bid for contracts to provide public services, including health.
Negotiations have been conducted in secret while waves of protest against them have swept across Europe.
Campaigners used a process called the European Citizens’ Initiative, which lets ordinary people force a European Parliamentary debate on any issue if they collect one million petition signatures and pass a threshold number across eight or more countries.
The campaigners gathered more than three million signatures and passed the threshold in 22 EU countries, but their petition was rejected by the unelected European Commission.
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has now overruled the Commission.
Guy Taylor from campaign group Global Justice Now said: “This ruling has embarrassingly exposed the European Commission’s attempts to silence the millions of people across Europe who have called for these deals to be scrapped.
“This is a wake-up call for national governments to take their citizens’ concerns seriously about this corporate power grab when they are considering whether or not to approve this toxic trade deal.”