Reining in the food speculators | World Development Movement

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Reining in the food speculators

By Heidi Chow, 5 September 2013

Yesterday morning, EU decision makers met to agree new rules on food speculation. We have been campaigning to ensure our demands for effective rules are heard by decision makers and to counteract the pressure of the financial lobby who are pushing for weak rules.

In advance of this crucial meeting, we've been asking people to sign up to help lengthen our barrier tape (and play our fun snake game at the same time). In the end we got over 4,000 sign ups and our European allies got over 35,000! Our Cardiff WDM group also co-ordinated a petition to Kay Swinburne - a Welsh member of the European parliament who is one of the key negotiators in the meeting.

Joining forces with other European campaigners (Friends of the Earth Europe, SOS Faim, Fairfin, CNCD, Oxfam Germany) we took our extra long barrier tape to Brussels for a stunt just before the start of the meeting. The key European parliamentary negotiators all came to watch our comedic street theatre which involved binding up food speculators with our giant barrier tape. The negotiators were also presented with our detailed demands, a length of the barrier tape and a cob of corn as visual reminders that they need to side with the people and not the banks as they negotiate the rules.

Watch part one of our street theatre production here:

But it doesn't end there with all the gloating! As in all good stories, the activists triumph!

We were pleased that all the key decision makers came along including Kay Swinburne demonstrating the value of mobilising different constituent groups. We delivered a strong message that couldn't be ignored and some of the parliamentarians commented that they had a real sense of the mounting public pressure on this issue.

We will find out more on the outcome of the meeting over the next few weeks but this is a negotiation phase for the legislation and we will only know for certain what the agreed rules are in a few months time.

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Written by

Heidi Chow

Heidi is a campaigns officer at WDM, working to stop excessive speculation in food in financial markets.

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