Resistance against the multinationals continues
Dutch activists said Saturday they have garnered nearly two-thirds of the signatures needed to force the government to hold a referendum on the new EU-Canada trade pact, in what may prove a fresh setback to the deal.
The controversial accord, seven years in the making, was finally signed last weekend in Brussels after it was held up by last-minute resistance from a Belgian region.
But the agreement now has to go back to most member states of the European Union for ratification.
Grassroots groups in The Netherlands are calling for a referendum on whether parliament here should ratify the giant Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), as well as a Transatlantic deal with the United States known as TTIP.
A petition launched in October 2015 has collected more than 190,400 signatures out of the 300,000 needed to compel the government to organise a referendum on the issue.
"We want to make it clear to politicians that TTIP and CETA are in our view agreements and treaties that should be more openly discussed and should be drastically changed," Niesco Dubbelboer, from the Meer Democratie (More Democracy) movement, told AFP.