EU undermines its own position on 'fair' trade

17 October 2018

EU undermines its own position on 'fair' trade

The European Union's Council of Foreign Affairs Ministers has voted to approve the signing later in the week of two separate treaties between the EU and Singapore, one covering trade and the other investment. This is despite the fact that the treaties directly contradict the Commission's lofty promises on fair and sustainable trade, as SP Euro-MP Anne-Marie Mineur explains: “Singapore has failed to ratify important international treaties regarding workers' rights, such as those relating to trade unionism. Despite this, the trade treaty will be signed this week. Obviously we can't attach much credibility to the EU's statements when they say they value trade treaties which benefit working people.”

Mineur also finds it striking that no agreements are included in the text which relate to the implementation of the Paris Accord. “It's always the same thing with the Commission,” she says. “Investors' rights are made binding in all sorts of ways, while agreements which protect workers and the environment lose out.”

Investors' rights are included in a separate treaty that must now go before the national parliaments for approval. In Mineur's view, however, this treaty should certainly not be signed by the EU. “The European Court of Justice is currently looking into the question, on the basis of the EU-Canada treaty – CETA – of whether this form of investor protection is compatible with the EU treaties,” she points out. “Instead of waiting for its verdict, the Commission and Council have blandly agreed with Singapore a treaty which is of the same old stamp. The treaties with Singapore show, in short, that while the EU professes to stand up for people, animals and the environment, at the same time it concludes treaties which safeguard no interests except those of the multinationals.”

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