Skip to content

UPDATE: Observing the European Parliament in Strasbourg

STRASBOURG, 1 pm (7 am ET) – We are attending a debate at the European Parliament this afternoon. Not often seen in North American media (and actually we’re not supposed to take pictures), it’s notable how raucous the debate can actually be here – clapping, heckling, and even booing. And given how empty our House of Commons is usually, it’s startling to see every seat full in this 736 member assembly.

It is here that the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement – if signed – would eventually come for debate and approval. The European Parliament has recently asserted its right to vote on international trade agreements. They have reminded “the Council and Commission that since the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, the European Parliament must approve international agreements…”

The Canadian Press reported in May 2010 that the European Parliament passed a resolution during the Canada-European Union summit when Prime Minister Stephen Harper was in Brussels meeting with EU representatives to promote CETA. “(The resolution) takes a poke at Alberta’s oil sands, expressing ‘its concern about the impact of the extraction of oil sand on the global environment due to the high level of CO2 emissions during its production process and the threat it poses for local biodiversity and the rights and health of indigenous peoples.’”

And the European Parliament has also voted to declare, “that water is a shared resource of mankind and that access to drinking water should constitute a fundamental and universal right.” That was in March 2009.

The party composition here is: the European Peoples Party (265 seats), Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (186), Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (84), Greens – European Free Alliance (55), European Conservatives and Reformists (54), European United Left – Nordic Green Left (35), Europe of Freedom and Democracy (30), and independents (27).

More on the European Parliament at http://canadians.org/campaignblog/?p=3497.