CETA: back to the drawing board

28 October 2016

CETA: back to the drawing board

Foto: SP

The adjustments demanded by the Walloons to the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between the EU and Canada must be put before the national parliaments, argues the SP. To that effect Member of Parliament Jasper van Dijk has requested a debate with Trade Minister Lilianne Ploumen. “It would be bizarre if Brussels were to continue to shove the amended treaty down the throats of the people.”

The SP is keeping up its resistance to CETA, whether or not the agreement is amended. Euro-MP Anne-Marie Mineur considers the treaty a threat to both people and the environment, but notes also that the Walloon parliament, which represents Belgium’s French-speaking south, has put its finger on a number of sore points. “It’s pleasing and just that the Belgians have at last got the controversial arbitration system, the Investment Court System (ICS), sent to the European Court of Justice for assessment,” she says. “Four of Belgium’s six regional parliaments see so many objections to this system that they refused to approve the treaty’s ratification. In the areas of agriculture, stock raising and food safety, the Belgians have also recorded clear reservations. It’s certainly possible that CETA will yet die the death in the national parliaments.”

Van Dijk sees the way in which CETA has emerged as an embarrassment. “In the SP’s view this sort of agreement should be formulated with the participation of everyone involved, in a way which is open and transparent,” he says. “Minister Ploumen herself wanted this too. So it would be better to take CETA back to the drawing board. If the EU wants despite everything to go through with the approval, then the least we can expect is a fundamental debate. Ending in a referendum, because radical treaties call for maximum participation.”

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