CETA: EU and Canada agree - We do not have rule of law!
MEP Helmut Scholz (GUE/NGL trade policy co-ordinator) comments on today's presentation of the revised free trade agreement between the European Union and Canada (CETA):
“The revision of the text of the CETA agreement has now been finalised. After enormous public pressure and clear statements in the European Parliament, the EU Commission was forced to rewrite the chapter on investor protection. The new ISDS process is no longer called ISDS, and includes elements that make the system more transparent and which make it more difficult for corporations to file a case. But the basic principle remains: corporations may sue governments if they see their profit expectations threatened by a new law, and, to this end, they are provided with a separate legal path using a tribunal which is not bound by the legal and constitutional systems of the 29 states participating in CETA.
“By agreeing to this investor protection system, the Canadian government and the EU Commission are declaring that they have no confidence in the rule of law of its partners. Apparently, both want to see better guarantees siding with the interests of investors, than what could be expected by our legal systems. The template for the new investor protection chapter can be found in the most recently negotiated EU Free Trade Agreement with Vietnam.
“The Canadian government and the EU Commission have used a trick to change the text of the agreement without formally re-opening the negotiations: this involved changes to the text during the legal clean-up process on the language of the Agreement. This method prevents concerns about other aspects of the Agreement from being publicly debated again to try and force negotiators to accept further changes, among others on regulatory cooperation, the obligations to provide prior information on new laws, the backdoor function of the Agreement for US companies, extended tendering obligations, and high import quotas to the EU market for Canadian agricultural products.
“Expected in June, the Council will decide to authorise the signing of CETA. The Agreement shall then be translated into all EU languages and probably submitted early 2017 to the Council and European Parliament for ratification. By then, all MEPs will have to show whether they agree to a CETA with ISDS. The left group in the European Parliament, the GUE/NGL, will not agree to the ratification.”
GUE/NGL Press Contact:
Gay Kavanagh +32 473 84 23 20