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250 MPs demand involvement of national parliaments in CETA decision

5 July 2016

250 MPs demand involvement of national parliaments in CETA decision

Foto: SP

250 MPs from thirteen different member states have signed a statement demanding that national parliaments be given the right to debate the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between the European Union and Canada. Their demand for involvement was presented in a letter to the government of Slovakia in its capacity as holder of the EU’s rotating presidency. The statement was an initiative of SP Senator Tuur Elzinga. “CETA will have far-reaching consequences for these various countries,” Elzinga explains. “So it’s not a treaty which can be introduced behind people’s backs. National parliaments must have the chance to approve or reject the agreement. That’s democracy.”

Negotiations on CETA are in a winding up phase. They have for the most part taken place behind closed doors and outside the control of national parliaments. It appears that the European Commission has no plans to put the agreed text to national parliaments for their approval, which Elzinga finds unbelievable. “Whether in favour of CETA or against it,” he notes, “as national parliamentarians we’re in agreement that far-reaching treaties should not be introduced without national support. Certainly following the British referendum it’s impossible to accept that the Commission would agree a treaty that gives foreign multinationals the possibility to bypass national courts in the event of disputes, without first of all consulting national parliaments!”

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