Barlow challenges CETA at Christiansborg Slot

Photo by TTIP-Netværket

Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow challenged the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) at a sold-out conference held today inside the Christiansborg Palace in Copenhagen, Denmark.

The palace is a government building that is the seat of the Danish Parliament (Folketinget), the Danish Prime Minister's Office, and the Supreme Court of Denmark. The building is also often referred to as Rigsborgen (castle of the realm) or Borgen (the castle).

The promotion for the conference highlights (in Danish), "The TTIP Network invites you to an open conference on the CETA and TTIP at Christiansborg. This conference addresses some of the major issues on the trade agreements with presentations by leading experts and debates with politicians from both wings. During the debates politicians will also have the opportunity to ask questions of and be challenged by the experts."

Various tweets (mostly in Danish) tell us:

  • Barlow speaking on Canada's experiences with NAFTA and why she refuses CETA.
  • Barlow says NAFTA has undermined high environmental and social standards in Canada. CETA will do the same to EU.
  • Barlow says do no forget CETA for CETA is TTIP; 42,000 US companies in Canada do not need TTIP.
  • Barlow warns that CETA poses same risks for public services and environment as TTIP.
  • Barlow says US multinationals will use CETA to sue, they do not need TTIP if CETA is adopted.
  • Barlow says we have to create trade that secures fundamental rights, not corporate rights like TTIP and CETA.

The current Prime Minister of Denmark Lars Løkke Rasmussen supports CETA. He is a conservative-liberal politician who leads a coalition with his Venstre, Danmarks Liberale Parti (Left, Denmark's Liberal Party) that has the support of the Danish People's Party, the Liberal Alliance and the Conservative People's Party.

The country's previous Social Democratic government also backed CETA. In September 2014, The Globe and Mail reported, "European governments must work harder to allay fears that free trade with Canada threatens labour and environmental laws, Danish Trade Minister Mogens Jensen says. ...Mr. Jensen said Denmark is a strong supporter of investor rights, pointing out that his country already has 40 such deals."

One of the featured speakers at Christiansborg today was Denmark's former prime minister Poul Oluf Nyrup Rasmussen. He was the prime minister between January 1993 and November 2001, and then a Member of the European Parliament from 2004 to 2009. Rasmussen is opposed to CETA.

Barlow spoke against CETA in Stockholm (yesterday), is now in Copenhagen (September 7-8), and will visit Sweden's third largest city, Malmö (September 9). On September 17, she will be at the massive anti-CETA rally in Stuttgart, Germany. More than 30,000 people are expected to be at that protest.

Other key dates in the campaign to stop CETA include:

  • September 22 - European Union trade ministers meet in Bratislava, Slovakia to discuss the provisional application of CETA
  • September 26 - Canadian trade minister Chrystia Freeland will speak in favour of CETA at the German Social Democratic Party convention in Berlin
  • October 27 - Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is scheduled to be in Brussels to sign CETA
  • November 29 - European Parliament International Trade Committee expected to vote on CETA
  • December/January - CETA could go to the European Parliament for a plenary ratification vote

#StopCETA