Nessa Childers, MEP for Dublin, reacted in strong terms to Commission President Junker’s announcement that the EU-Canada trade deal would does not require national ratification.
The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement negotiated by the EU Commission with Canada on behalf of the EU Member State governments is due for ratification in the European Parliament, which has the final say on it at EU level. However, an international agreement should also require a vote by the parliaments of each EU country when matters of national competence are touched.
Speaking in reaction to Juncker’s announcement to the heads of Member States at the European Council in Brussels, this week, Ms. Childers said:
“The very purpose of the EU leaders’ meeting where he made this announcement – taking stock of the outcome of the “Brexit” referendum – shows Mr. Juncker’s appalling signal for what it is.
“This trade agreement, very much like TTIP, the transatlantic trade deal under negotiation between the EU and the US, is no longer about customs duties, tariffs and such technical minutiae which the typical, old-school trade treaties dealt with.
“We are now moving beyond that in these agreements between developed nations on either side of the Atlantic, where trade ties are already deep and vibrant.
“This new generation of trade deals is trying to bring in special arbitration rights for corporations where government action might threaten their profits, and regulatory cooperation forums where future legislation on either side will be tested for its friendliness to trade.
“These matters are fundamental to our concepts of the rule of law and the democratic rights of elected governments to act in the public interest.
“Discussing and deciding on these matters is a prerogative of parliaments, and trade negotiations between trade experts behind closed doors cannot replace that democratic function.
“Mr. Juncker and the Commission fear that the Union will be weakened if we give a say on CETA to every EU country. They are wrong. There is a limit to what the Commission can act upon on its own, and CETA’s very wide scope goes beyond it.
“Europe will be stronger and more legitimate in the eyes of our citizens if it allows the say of national parliaments in this context.
“The EU’s survival today very much depends on its ability to protect working people from the sharp end of globalisation, not in pandering to multinational interests at their expense.
“I hope the Irish government will contribute to the formation of a unanimous voice at the Council, which is required to give the Dáil a voice on CETA, if Mr. Juncker and the EC persisT in this error.