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NEWS: European MPs express skepticism/ opposition to CETA

Trade campaigner Stuart Trew speaks to 60 Green Party MEPs and staff in Strasburg, January 2011

Trade campaigner Stuart Trew speaks to 60 Green Party MEPs and staff in Strasburg, January 2011

The Huffington Post reports, “As Canadian and European Union negotiators sit down Monday for the ninth round of talks on a sweeping and controversial trade agreement with the EU, The Huffington Post has learned European officials expect Canada will get the short end of the stick.”

1- “‘At the moment Europe will be able to export more than what Canada will be exporting,’ Anna Robash, a Danish member of the European Parliament, recently said.”

2- “‘We will gain a bit more,’ a European official closely linked to the trade talks also suggested. ‘A good deal today is a win–win,’ he said. ‘But of course, there will be some losers, there are always losers.'”

“EU politicians on the left and right of the political spectrum raised concerns with HuffPost over key issues they would like to see addressed in the deal, as well as trade irritants such as Canada’s liberal use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and the need to recognize geographical indicators. …Some MEPs even said they believe Canada’s appeal to the World Trade Organization (WTO) on the EU’s seal parts ban could derail negotiations when CETA comes up for a vote.”

3- “‘Your Canadian milk quota, for me is a big point, because we will go out of our quota in the European Union,’ said Elisabeth Jeggle, a former farmer and a German member of the European People’s Party. ‘I hope in the end we will have established and equal base, a fair base. We can give European products to Canada and Canada may send products to the European Union,’ she said.”

4- “‘For me, some of the very important (issues) are labelling on goods, that you know where goods come from,’ said Robash, the Danish politician. ‘We also want to know if the meat … has been fed by genetically modified organisms. We do not really see the need for GMOs. It is extraordinary expensive. I could understand if it was for scientific research, but for food? It makes no sense to me,’ she said. ‘Then there is the protection of international property right, which is for us in Europe quite important. You know in Europe if a cognac, or champagne or cheese Roquefort or you name it, if they do not come from exactly that part of the country they cannot be called that,’ Robash said smiling.”

5- “‘I must say that is not very helpful for the trade agreement because if you want a trade agreement with a partner, you should not have any conflicts at the WTO level. That is not helpful,’ said Jörg Leichtfried, an Austrian member of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats. ‘There are some colleagues who have already said that if that issue is not cleared there will be no agreement. I mean that is quite a radical position here but some are acting like that. And that has to be noticed I think,’ he told HuffPost in his office in Strasbourg, France…”

The article highlights, “The Council of Canadians and the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), who will demonstrate Monday on the steps of Parliament Hill wheeling a 14-foot tall wooden Trojan horse representing the agreement. ‘This is one of the stupidest trade agreements Canada has ever seen,’ said Stuart Trew of the Trade Justice Network. ‘I think what we will lose out of this far outweighs any potential gains for limited sectors in Canada. Municipalities have become just bargaining chips so the Harper government can sell more fish,’ Trew said.”

The Council of Canadians has met with numerous other MEPs during our three interventions at the European Parliament over the past year who have also expressed strong concerns/ opposition to CETA. The approval of the 736-member European Parliament is needed in order to ratify CETA.

The full Huffington Post article is at http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2011/10/17/canada-may-get-short-end-of-stick-in-economic-and-trade-agreement-with-eu_n_1014707.html.