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French Constitutional Court delays decision on legality of CETA

The French Constitutional Court has delayed its ruling on the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) prompting calls for the deal’s provisional application to be postponed past July 1.

EurActiv reports, “Following a request in February by 153 elected politicians, including 53 MPs, the Constitutional Court announced that it would delay its decision on the legality of the EU’s free trade agreement with Canada. Something of a rarity, this report threatens the implementation of the deal.”

The article explains, “There is a real possibility that the agreement could be in breach of French law. According to lawyer Dominique Rousseau, the current text does not conform to the French constitution, for a number of reasons. The first is that it contravenes the principle of equality: the establishment of ad hoc dispute settlement tribunals would offer different treatment to foreign and national investors. For Rousseau, this also undermines national sovereignty by taking competences from national jurisdictions. What is more, the precautionary principle does not appear in the agreement.”

The summary of the legal argument can be read (in French) here.

And EurActiv highlights, “[Several organizations] called on President François Hollande to delay the entry into force of the CETA agreement, on the grounds that the Constitutional Court had yet to deliver its verdict.”

The Trudeau government is trying to have CETA provisionally applied by July 1.

European allies have stated, “[The French Constitutional Court’s] announcement that it is delaying this decision confirms our fears. The president should call an emergency European Council summit to refuse the provisional entry into force of this deal until all doubts about its compatibility with the French constitution have been allayed.”

We support this call being made by the Nicolas Hulot Foundation, the Veblen Institute and Foodwatch.

To tell Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that you oppose the C-30 implementation legislation that would enable the provisional application in Canada, please see our action alert here.