Divisions in Europe over CETA growing as Canada-EU Summit approaches
Just days before Prime Minister Stephen Harper plays host to European Commission President Barroso at the Canada-EU Summit in Ottawa, major cracks are again appearing in official pronouncements that negotiations on the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) have been concluded.
“It’s becoming more clear by the day that the planned ceremony to announce the conclusion of negotiations and the closing of the text of CETA on September 26 will be as illusory as the last two times Stephen Harper has made the same announcement,” says Maude Barlow, national chairperson of the Council of Canadians.
Reports have resurfaced in recent days that Germany continues to oppose investor-state provisions in CETA that would allow corporations to directly sue governments over regulatory measures, and is pushing for changes to be made before the text is closed by Canada and the European Commission.
“I would not bet any money on CETA coming into effect. Martin Schulz, the President of the European Parliament, just said to demonstrators in Berlin that he does not see in the parliament a majority for a treaty that includes investor state dispute settlement,” says Jörg Haas, of the German NGO Campact, who is in Ottawa for the Canada-EU Summit. “There is massive popular resistance against CETA and TTIP in Germany. Campact has now collected 630,000 signatures against TTIP and 387,000 against CETA in Germany, bigger numbers than any petition Campact has run before.”
Numerous member states, including Germany, also continue to insist that they will only support CETA if it is considered a ‘mixed agreement,’ which will require the ratification by all 28 European Union member in addition to the European Council and Parliament, a position at odds with the European Commission.
“In his drive to present CETA as a done deal in time for the 2015 election cycle, Stephen Harper is putting his head in the sand right next to the outgoing European Commission and ignoring the battle that is brewing between the Commission and the EU member states and members of the European Parliament who are still insisting on changes to the text,” says Barlow. “But making the same announcement over and over doesn’t make it true, and citizens on both sides of the Atlantic know that CETA is far from finished.”
Jörg Haas, Campact: +1-416-912-2917
Brent Patterson 613-882-4408