The return of the ‘Hunger Games’ – and how we’re trying to stop it
By: Heidi Chow
Date: 21 March 2016
When it comes to financial market regulation, there is a lot at stake. And none more so than in the area of the commodities market where years of deregulation was a major factor in driving food price spikes back in 2008. Staple foods like wheat and corn soared to record levels driving hunger and poverty across the globe. But after four years of public campaigning, the EU agreed to introduce legislation to limit the amount that companies can bet on food prices and curb harmful speculation.
Public pressure played a key role in winning the legislation and it’s needed once again. The European commission has been considering proposals from the European regulator to implement the legislation. But these proposals are massively weak and would be ineffective at curbing speculation. So Global Justice Now supporters wrote to key MEPs to pressure the European parliament not to accept weakened proposals and together with our allies, our involvement has made the parliament take notice.
The parliamentary lead negotiator communicated this to the commission: ‘The latest drafts were far from being acceptable for the European Parliament. Especially the position limits regime urgently needs a comprehensive redrafting in order to effectively curb food speculation’
We also co-ordinated an open letter to the European commission endorsed by 5000 supporters and 26 European organisations to pressure the commission to reject the weak proposals. We delivered this letter last month and we’ve just heard that the commission has now sent the weak proposals back to the European regulator and asked for them to be reviewed. We haven’t stopped weak rules from being proposed but this is a good development and shows that public pressure is making a difference.
We will continue to campaign on this to make sure that the hard-fought for new rules are as strong as possible to stop corporations from betting on hunger.