A new game released today sheds light on the murky EU-Canada trade deal (CETA), days after it came into force – provisionally. A large number of citizens struggle to know what CETA actually means for them and what can be done to stop the deal, which still lacks approval from most EU member state parliaments. The mobile and desktop game 'Dodgy Deals' lets players face some of the dangerous features of trade deals like CETA and shows what is at stake.
While certain aspects of the CETA agreement have been much-criticised, other risky elements like 'regulatory cooperation' remain unknown to many. But this is exactly what makes CETA so dangerous: in many cases, it will make it more difficult for politicians to make laws in the public interest.
'Dodgy Deals' casts players as politicians, journalists or activists in a post-CETA world. Each character is assigned a mission – whether it is to pass a law for the prevention of toxic gold mining or to write a newspaper article about weed killers – and navigate the formidable new obstacles that CETA will introduce via 'regulatory cooperation'.
Fabian Flues, trade campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe, said: "CETA puts companies before people. It gives corporations huge powers to challenge laws in the making, if these might threaten their profits.
"Dodgy Deals is a fun, interactive game that puts you in the shoes of characters who have to tackle the many hurdles CETA will create for anyone wanting to make laws to protect people's health, the environment or workers' rights".
After CETA's hurried ratification in the European Parliament in February 2017, the deal still needs to get the green light from national and regional parliaments in all but six EU member states. In the meantime, 'Dodgy Deals' lets you uncover the dark side of trade agreements as they are made today.
The game uses the popular swipe navigation normally associated with dating apps and is a fun format to get informed, engaged and, perhaps, even enraged. With its launch, Friends of the Earth Europe and Corporate Europe Observatory hope to reach out to a broader public and to highlight the importance of trade deals that are democratic, as well as socially and environmentally sustainable.
Corporate Europe Observatory's trade policy campaigner Lora Verheecke added: "Deals like CETA are negotiated behind closed doors with very little scrutiny by our elected representatives, even though they have a massive impact on our everyday lives. Our game aims to get CETA out of the Brussels bubble and into the hands of millions of people in Europe.
"With stakes this high, we need a more informed public debate about the deals that affect everything from the food we eat, to the water we drink and even the way our laws are made."