EU Parliament set for verdict on controversial Ceta trade pact 


Campaigners: ‘Reject toxic corporate trade pact with Canada’

THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT IN STRASBOURG will face a crucial test tomorrow [15 February] with its official vote on the controversial Ceta deal.

Ceta (the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement) is the proposed economic deal between the EU and Canada, constructed after seven years of talks between governments and bureaucrats. 

The deal faced a backlash over its potential threats to economic, environmental and social wellbeing – with over three million EU citizens opposing the deal in a petition. Parliament will debate and vote on the Bill, followed by a planned visit of Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau to the parliament on Thursday 16 February. 

Campaigners, who have led opposition to the deal as an embodiment of unequal and corrosive global trade, want the deal rejected. 

“Millions of people across Europe have clearly stated that they want this toxic trade deal to be scrapped.” Nick Dearden, Global Justice Now

Nick Dearden, the director of campaign group Global Justice Now, said: “This trade deal has very little to do with trade, and everything to do with handing corporations a frightening raft of new powers with which to alter laws and regulations to their benefit. 

“We’re just emerging from a referendum where ‘taking back control’ was the dominant rallying cry, and yet here we are with politicians handing over more control to unelected and unaccountable multinational corporations. 

“Millions of people across Europe have clearly stated that they want this toxic trade deal to be scrapped, and it would be a travesty for democracy on Wednesday if MEPs ignore them.”

Specifically, Global Justice Now warns that the deal gives corporations power to sue government for laws that might harm their profits, and that the regulatory cooperation chapter risks a race to the bottom in food safety and environmental regulation.

Read more –  Warnings UK parliamentary sovereignty slipping away as Liam Fox refuses Ceta debate

However, the leading Scottish MEP on EU trade matters, David Martin, said he would back the deal. 

In a piece titled ‘Why Ceta is a good deal for Europe’, he said: “In many ways the centre-left group in the parliament has been a victim of its own successes with Ceta. Looking back at our unprecedented achievements, some believe that we could and should try to push for even more. Although I have some sympathy with this position, I am convinced that now is the time ratify this deal. Ceta is the most progressive trade deal ever negotiated and we should celebrate our successes.

“Furthermore, political events across the Atlantic demand that the EU takes a lead now on trade issues. Between unfettered free markets on the one hand and Trump-style protectionism on the other, Ceta offers a forward-looking solution to the problems and opportunities that arise from globalisation. It will be a further measure of how progressive this deal is when we are able to compare it with the first drafts of the forthcoming (we are told) UK-US trade deal.”

The Tories have blocked parliamentary scrutiny of Ceta in the UK Parliament – where the government backtracked on promises to debate the deal. 

Picture courtesy of Global Justice Now

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