Postmedia News has reported on a “three-month delay in the presentation of formal offers by each side” in the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) talks. That article adds, “An EU official said…Spain (is) also dragging their heels.” Why might Spain be “dragging their heels” on CETA?
1- In October, Canadian newspapers reported on the Jean Charest government awarding a $1.2 billion contract to build 648 new subway cars to the Quebec giant Bombardier and the French railway firm Alstom without a competitive bid. The Canadian Press reported that, “The downside (of this decision) is that Charest, who likes to portray himself as an ardent supporter of free trade between Canada and the European Union, is being accused of squeezing out a European competitor.” The Vancouver Sun reported that Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero wrote Charest “expressing his annoyance” that a Spanish firm was excluded from the bidding process. More on that at http://canadians.org/campaignblog/?p=4869.
2- Canada has continued to oppose the human right to water while Spain voted in favour of the right to water at the United Nations on July 28. More on that at http://canadians.org/campaignblog/?p=3334.
3- A Parliament of Canada website notes that, “Although the EU has included contracts issued by central and sub-central government entities of its 27 member states in its commitments under the WTO Government Procurement Agreement, Canada is excluded from the list of beneficiary countries because it does not allow European firms to bid on provincial, territorial and municipal procurement. One issue likely to be debated is the level of government in the EU that is equivalent to provinces and territories in Canada. While the EU considers its member states, such as Germany, to be equivalent to Canadian provinces and territories, the Government of Canada insists that sub-central governments (e.g, Länder in Germany or Catalonia in Spain) should be covered.” That’s at http://www2.parl.gc.ca/Content/LOP/ResearchPublications/2010-57-e.htm.
Spain has 54 Members of the European Parliament, the body that must approve the Canada-EU CETA.