The battle over CETA will continue: Next, national parliaments and citizens must decide
While the European Parliament will vote on CETA today, the deal must still be voted on by the national parliaments of EU member states where it continues to face strong opposition.
A referendum is expected in the Netherlands and the German constitutional court may decide that Germany will abandon the agreement. In addition, over 2,000 European cities, regions and organisations have declared themselves to be 'CETA- and TTIP-free zones'.
GUE/NGL Shadow Rapporteur on CETA, Anne-Marie Mineur, explains: "While part of the agreement will provisionally apply almost immediately, the national parliaments fortunately still get to ratify the greater part of the agreement.
"Given the huge pressure that is mounting in so many countries, there is a very reasonable chance that at least one parliament will block ratification.
"In my own country, the Netherlands, preparations are being made for a referendum, but also in countries like Germany and Austria, the public protest is enormous.
"The Belgian government has also announced that it will ask the European Court of Justice for an opinion on whether the Investment Court System is compatible with the European legal system."
"The German Constitutional Court is working on an in-depth analysis (principal proceedings / 'Hauptsacheverfahren') that may decide for Germany to abandon the agreement altogether.
"Despite some changes to the text of the agreement, the reasons that so many oppose it remain. The introduction of the highly contested Investment Court System only benefits foreign investors and the new Joint Committee, in which corporate lobbyists get to decide which proposals are on the table, is a clear attack on our democracy."
"It is incredible that the Parliament completely refuses to listen to the citizens' objections, and is pushing ahead with an agreement that contains so many unresolved issues.
"There is still a long way to go for this agreement, and the people of Europe still get to have a say in the matter."
German MEP, Helmut Scholz, also comments: “The European Union's reputation is seriously at stake over CETA, not only in front of our negotiating partner, Canada, but also in the eyes of our own citizens."
"Millions of citizens have educated themselves about this agreement, discussed it, and mobilised others for many months. This has led to the largest protests in EU cities that have been seen in a long time.
"Will a majority of MEPs from the Christian Democrats, Conservatives, Liberals and Martin Schulz's wing of the Socialists & Democrats group really ratify this unwanted agreement against the will of the people? This would further intensity the alienation between the citizens and the decision-makers of Europe.
"Or will the directly elected MEPs take up the people's concerns? One thing is for sure: the left group, GUE/NGL, will be united in voting no."
“After today's vote it will become visible that Wallonia is not alone in its opposition, as CETA must be put to the vote in all national and many regional parliaments.
"Stay tuned and watch carefully to find out whether this bad agreement will gain a majority at national level, especially among the German regions."
Spanish MEP, Lola Sanchez Caldentey, adds: “The story of CETA is like the story of the Emperor's New Clothes. The Commission talks about a deal dressed up with jobs, wealth, rising standards… but those clothes are only seen by the lobbyists. Unbelievably, some MEPs of the Socialists & Democrats group continue saying they can see those luxurious clothes too. Where? Where do they see jobs for the small and medium sized enterprises when there is not a single chapter on the topic in CETA?"
"They even say they see sustainable development, while there is not a single legally binding and enforceable paragraph in the social and environmental chapters.”
"The rest of the population – the farmers, the small and medium enterprises, the trade unions, the citizens, and more than 2,000 cities, regions and organisations that have declared themselves CETA- and TTIP-free zones, and even the Employment Committee of the European Parliament – can see the reality.
"CETA is an agreement between the EU and Canada that serves only the rights of the big corporations at the expense of democracy, labour rights, food safety and environmental protection."
The three MEPs resolved: "We will continue to do all we can to stop this agreement!"
GUE/NGL MEPs have tabled a motion to reject CETA in today's parliamentary vote:
Other media available:
Video statements on CETA from GUE/NGL MEPs: https://www.youtube.com/user/GUENGL
(including Helmut Scholz, Anne-Marie Mineur, Eleonora Forenza, Lola Sanchez Caldentey, Patrick Le Hyaric, Marisa Matias, Xabier Benito, Neoklis Sylikiotis, Matt Carthy, Malin Bjork & others)
GUE/NGL Press Contact:
Nikki Sullings +33 3881 76723 / +32 483 03 55 75