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Barlow challenges CETA in Spain

Maude Barlow in Madrid

Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow is speaking in Madrid today and will be in Barcelona tomorrow.

She is in Spain to challenge the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS)/ Investment Court System (ISC) provisions in those deals that would allow corporations to sue governments for any future profits impacted by environmental and social justice legislation.

The Spanish news service El Dia reports, “The activist Maude Barlow will participate in the roundtable ‘The fight against CETA and multinationals: what we learn from Canada to beat TTIP and other trade agreements’, in the Galileo Cultural Center. Street Ferdinand, 35. Madrid [at 7 pm].”

In June 2013, Corporate Europe Observatory noted that Spain has experienced two investor-state claims against it. Barlow is bringing to Spain the experience of Canada, which has been the target of 35 investor-state claims over the last two decades with foreign investors seeking more than $6 billion in damages from the Canadian government.Maude Barlow in Madrid

Barlow comments, “I’m in Europe to share a powerful story of Canada’s experience that is relevant for two reasons. The first is that we Canadians have lived with ISDS for 20 years. The other reason Europeans should care about Canada is that CETA contains the ISDS provision. CETA could act as a ‘back door’ for American corporations with offices in Canada to sue European governments whether TTIP is adopted or not.”

Prior to this evening’s public forum, Barlow met with a city councillor who is seeking to have Madrid declared a CETA/TTIP free zone. She was also interviewed by the Spanish newspaper El Pais. With a circulation of 267,000 readers, El Pais is the highest-circulation daily newspaper in Spain.

Over the past year, there has been a European Initiative against TTIP and CETA campaign. Their petition calls on the institutions of the European Union and its member states to not ratify CETA and to stop negotiations on TTIP. That petition was signed by 94,697 people in Spain.

Spain holds 53 seats in the European Parliament. These will be critical votes when CETA goes before the European Parliament to be ratified. That vote is expected to happen in late 2016 or in 2017. The current prime minister of Spain is Mariano Rajoy. He and his conservative People’s Party hold a parliamentary majority with 186 seats in the Congress of Deputies. The next major party is the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party, which holds 110 seats. Since 1982, these parties have been the only parties to form government. The next general election in Spain will take place on December 20.

Further reading
Saint John opts for Spanish company for its P3 drinking water system (Nov. 8, 2015)
CETA could mean Galicia pays for unwanted open-pit gold mine (Jan. 13, 2015)
Spain’s Repsol SA buys Calgary-based Talisman Energy Inc., the fifth largest oil and gas producer in Canada (Dec. 16, 2014)
Tar sands oil arrives in Spain, more expected with the Energy East pipeline (May 29, 2014)
CETA could challenge fracking ban in Cantabria, Spain (Nov. 12, 2013)

Photos: Barlow fighting for trade justice in Madrid.