CETA is back from the dead – but it’s not over yet
By Guy Taylor
There was a huge amount of EU tub-thumping yesterday (30 October), as the EU and Canadian summit happened in a very rushed manner and the CETA* deal was signed by Justin Trudeau and Jean-Claude Juncker. The media have presented the signing as the end of the journey for CETA saying that it’s time for everyone to accept this trade deal as finalised.
After a long week of opposition and delays, on Sunday the Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau and European leaders signed CETA, the toxic trade deal between Canada and the EU.
But despite the triumphant rhetoric of the signing ceremony, the deal is definitely not out of the woods yet. The ratification process continues and its next stop is the European parliament, scheduled to happen in December or January. We still have a chance to put CETA back in the grave.
The next steps for CETA
If the European parliament votes to ratify CETA, the deal will then be ‘provisionally implemented’. This means that the parts of the deal that are deemed to affect European law and not national law will be implemented, most likely in early 2017. After that, the deal will be sent to national parliaments of the member states around the EU for ratification. Thanks to the recent ruling of the German constitutional court, it is clear that this round of ratification can still kill the deal in its entirety.
In order to enter fully into force, CETA must still clear some 38 national and regional parliaments in the EU in the coming years.
The parliament of Wallonia, the French-speaking Belgian region which has already opposed CETA and postponed the signing, has been promised that they will be able to stop the ratification of CETA when they get a formal vote on it. Unless there are substantial changes, they – and hopefully other parliaments – will use that veto.
What’s more, the whole ‘corporate court’ concept will now go to the highest European court to rule on its legality – something which risks invalidating the EU’s entire trade agenda.
Why we need to stop CETA
CETA spells disaster for our environment, it creates a nightmare for governments resisting privatisation, and it gives corporations the right to sue governments in special courts.
If CETA passes the European parliament and gets ‘provisionally implemented’, we’d be part of the deal for at least two years. If the deal is fully approved, however, leaving the deal could take up to 20 years.
Our key task at the moment is to pressurise our MEPs to vote against CETA, even if it is passed by the European parliament, a narrop victory will further serve too undermine the legitimacy of the deal.