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Key upcoming dates in our campaign to stop CETA

Photo: The first Council of Canadians delegation to the European Parliament to challenge CETA, July 2010.

The Council of Canadians first began challenging the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) in October 2008.

That was when a joint Canada-EU study first recommended that a trade agreement should be pursued. Our first intervention at the European Parliament took place in July 2010 and over the years we have participated in at least a dozen different delegations to speak with European officials in opposition to this deal.

We are now entering a critical 5-9 month period in this campaign – a campaign we intend to win.

Here are a few key dates to keep in mind:


The Council of the European Union (where national government ministers from each EU country meet to discuss, amend and adopt laws, and coordinate policies) will vote on whether CETA is a mixed deal or not.

If CETA were to be considered a “mixed” agreement (meaning aspects of the agreement involve the “competency” or jurisdiction of EU member states), then ratification would require:

  • The unanimous approval of the Council of the European Union;

  • A majority vote in the European Parliament;

  • Ratification by all 28 EU member states (either by a vote in Parliament or by referendum).

But if CETA were to be considered “non-mixed” (exclusively within the “competency” or jurisdiction of the European Union), ratification would only need:

  • The Council of the European Union voting in favour of the deal (which in practice would require at least 55 per cent of the states representing 65 per cent of the European population);

  • A majority vote in the European Parliament.


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will attend a Canada-EU summit to sign CETA. This would officially mark (again) the end of negotiations on the deal and signal a milestone in the ratification process in both Europe and Canada. Given the Liberal majority government in Canada unequivocally supports CETA, as does the Conservative Party that negotiated the deal, we believe there is little chance of defeating CETA in a ratification vote in the House of Commons.


It is within these months that we expect CETA will go before the European Parliament for a ratification vote. This is the time frame that MEP Bernd Lange (Chair of the Committee on International Trade) told us at a European Parliamentary committee delegation meeting in Ottawa in March of this year.

Other key dates outside of this official timeline include a CETA/United States-EU Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) strategy meeting in July in Brussels, a meeting of local authorities opposed to CETA/TTIP in September in Brussels, a German Social Democratic Party (SPD) convention in September in Berlin, mass mobilizations against CETA/TTIP in October, a global day of action against ‘free trade’ agreements in November, and much more.

There are a number of reasons we can be hopeful that CETA will not be ratified:

  • There is immense opposition to TTIP in Europe and a growing awareness that even if Europeans were able to derail TTIP, more than 42,000 American transnational corporations with operations in Canada could still use the “investment protection” provision in CETA to challenge Europeans laws and regulations.

  • While the European parliamentary committee on international trade does appear to be largely supportive of CETA, we have noted in this blog that it continues to study the deal and that it still must make a recommendation to the European Parliament whether to pass the deal or not.

  • As noted in this blog, there are a growing number of European jurisdictions that do not support the ratification of CETA.

  • And as highlighted in this blog, there is significant opposition in the European Parliament to CETA (that admittedly will need to be shored up given the amendments that were made to the “investment protection” provisions in CETA). The argument we will continue to make to Members of the European Parliament, as noted in this blog, is that the Investment Court System (ICS) is as regressive as the Chapter 11 investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provision in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). We will also be highlighting concerns about CETA and food safety as outlined in this blog.

For more on our campaign to stop CETA, please click here.