Cities, civil society, social partners are natural allies for a global fair trade system.
Mid-July was an interesting time in Brussels. The beginning of the week saw a big gathering of civil society organisations joining forces against TTIP, TISA & co. They met in an Ixelles based, rather poorly equipped NGO headquarter, their outfit was casual and relaxing, discussions were open minded and inclusive. Some things were chaotic, like the WIFI would not work properly all the time, but that did have no impact whatsoever on the quality of discussions in real time. This impressing 2-days-meeting with 200 activists was followed by yet another one of these perfectly orchestrated „EU stakeholder meetings“ on TTIP, as the main negogiators met in the same week in Brussels, grey/black suits and perfect PPPs galore. In the light of this interesting week, it is worth to look at the question why the strategic alliance of cities, civil society and social partners in a multilevel political and even transatlantic context is so important to influence and even change global trade relations.