CETA is a disaster for people, animals and the environment

29 July 2022

CETA is a disaster for people, animals and the environment

Last week, the Dutch Senate has been debating the ratification of the CETA treaty. This free trade and investment treaty with Canada is highly controversial. Organisations from the trade union movement to the Consumers' Association, and from the environmental movement to various farmers' organisations, called on politicians not to agree.

Despite all concerns and warnings, the Senate agreed to the ratification of the CETA treaty. This is a big step backwards. CETA is an out-of-date treaty from the era of hyper-globalisation that has long been proven bankrupt. A step backwards in time. This utterly neoliberal treaty is a disaster for the planet, people and animals.

Multinational companies (foreign investors) can claim damages through CETA by means of a special arbitration court, the Investment Court System (ICS), against member states of the treaty if they feel harmed by government policy. Also in the Netherlands.

This arbitration court is accessible only to these multinational companies and not to ordinary citizens. It is a parallel legal system exclusively for multinational companies.

CETA is also at odds with our right to a democratic voice. This is the regulatory chill effect, the reluctance of legislators to implement policies for fear of damage claims. An effect we have seen before with the protection of a nature reserve in Romania and the regulation of tobacco sales in New Zealand. What is more, the liberalisation brought about by CETA is irreversible.

CETA opens the door to the import and growth of (mostly fossil) industries in the Netherlands. Import and growth that we do not need, import and growth which our planet cannot cope with.

Despite all this, the coalition was given a majority by the PvdA. While previously the PvdA fought with the SP and other left-wing parties for the ideal that people are more important than multinationals, in the end the PvdA helped the ratification of a treaty that does exactly the opposite.

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