Defeat of CETA Imminent?

Canadian PM S. Harper with European Commission President J. M. Barroso after signing agreement in principle
Canadian PM S. Harper with European Commission President J. M. Barroso after signing agreement in principle

The UK’s general trade union GMB called for the EU Commission to change course on EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement for EU and Canada (CETA) ahead of the EU Canada summit to be held in Ottawa on Friday 26th September.

There is the growing uncertainty as to whether CETA will be finally signed off in Ottawa as planned at the talks. Latest reports are that Germany has moved to have CETA put on hold.

Talks are now in the final stage with negotiations completed between EU and Canada. If the agreement is initialed in Ottawa then it goes to European Parliament which can only accept or reject but can not amend it. Then each EU member state has to ratify it or not.

Kathleen Walker Shaw, GMB European officer, said: “We are glad to see that some governments are finally waking up to the dangers of letting this trade deal go through. Germany seems set to try to block final agreement later this week, and is rightly challenging the mandate of the EU Commission to bulldoze this agreement through regardless of Member States concerns. It will hopefully give the other 27 Member State Governments food for thought.

According to Shaw, GMB has long opposed this agreement, and has worked with Canadian and European trade union colleagues, trade justice organisations and the Council of Canadians over a number of years with Parliaments on both sides of the Atlantic.

“The growing opposition to the EU-US trade deal has finally brought CETA into a wider public spotlight, as it is clearly being used as the Trojan Horse for the toxic Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). The EU Commission has been busy in the past weeks squeezing all the unpopular elements proposed for TTIP in to the EU- Canada agreement, which is in its closing stages, intent on sealing the deal in Ottawa.

This deal cannot be allowed to go ahead. GMB urges the EU Commission to use its press briefing today to finally admit defeat. If it ploughs on regardless it is going to hit a wall.

GMB supports the mass mobilization of unions and trade justice organisations who will be making their way to Ottawa to protest at the EU-Canada summit on Friday, but hopes that the EU Commission and Canadian Government will have climbed down before they get there,Shaw added.


Press Release, September 24, 2014;Image: Food Secure Canada


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