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UPDATE: Canadians meet with MEP Stephen Hughes

Meeting with MEP Stephen Hughes at the European Parliament.

Meeting with MEP Stephen Hughes at the European Parliament.

Brussels – A Canadian delegation opposing CETA met today with Stephen Hughes, a British Member of the European Parliament and the deputy leader of the Socialist Party at the EP.

Also present at the meeting were representatives of the European Public Services Union and GMB, Britain’s General Union.

At the start of the meeting, Hughes expressed his concerns with Canada continuing to export asbestos around the world. The suggestion was made that some conditionality on the EU signing CETA could be Canada stopping its asbestos exports. (We will be following up on this.)

Larry Brown of NUPGE introduced our concerns about CETA namely the investor-state dispute settlement provision, the restrictions it would place on public procurement, the regulatory barriers it would establish, its similarities to NAFTA, among other issues.

During the discussion we learned that:

– the EP may have an all-party trade caucus meeting that will look at related issues,
– there will be a ‘special session’ on CETA at the EP’s trade committee this fall (as there is after each round of talks),
– there will be a ‘social impact assessment’ done on CETA by the EU (though there are concerns about the stringency of such an assessment),
– a new draft text of CETA will be prepared for October, and
– the EU has a ‘civil dialogue’ mechanism that could also be utilized to raise concerns.