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Three German states could vote against the ratification of CETA

To the Greens in German federal state governments: “You have a large amount of power over CETA’s future. We urge you to use this power now.”

Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow and Green Party leader Elizabeth May have written German Greens about the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).

Their letter states, “We understand that you have a very crucial role to play within the German Bundesrat since each of the Länder governed by a Green government or a Green coalition has the ability to abstain or vote no to the agreement. You hold a large amount of power over CETA’s future. We urge you to use this power now. By declaring that the Länder where Greens are in government are not going to vote for CETA once it comes to ratification, you can exert maximum pressure upon the European Commission to stop the ratification process.”

We have now heard from our allies at Campact in Germany that the Greens in the federal states of Bremen, North Rhine-Westphalia and Rheinland Pfalz have declared their intention that their Länder (federal states) will not agree to CETA in the German Bundesrat (federal council).

The federal state of Bremen has a population of 663,000 people and is governed by a coalition of  Greens and Social Democratic Party (SPD), as is Rheinland Pfalz with its population of 4,059,000 and North Rhine-Westphalia, the industrial heartland of Germany with 18,058,000 people.

The Bundesrat represents the sixteen Länder at the national level. It works alongside the Bundestag (federal assembly) on laws affecting state competencies.

The Greens are also participating in coalitions in the federal states of Hamburg, Hesse, Lower Saxony, as well as Saxony-Anhalt, Schleswig-Holstein and Thuringia.

90 per cent of Green voters in Germany reject CETA.

Less clear is the position of Baden-Württemberg (which has a population of 10,736,000 people) where the Greens are leading a coalition with the Christian Democratic Partiy (CDU). The German newspaper Taz has reported that while the Greens spoke against CETA during the last election, Green Minister President Winfried Kretschmann is declining to comment on the issue now in office. Campact activist Felix Kolb says, “Kretschmann appears anything but reliable when it comes to election promises. He endangeres his most important asset: The trust of citizens.”

The Bundesrat must approve all legislation affecting policy areas for which the Basic Law (the constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany) grants the Länder concurrent powers and for which the Länder must administer federal regulations. The ratification of CETA would require an absolute majority in the 69-seat Bundesrat.

For more on European jurisdictions opposing CETA, please click here.