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Environment MEPs to vote on #CETA deal Thursday 12th January

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Friday 6 Jan 2017

To come into force the final EU Canada trade agreement (CETA) has to be passed by a majority of MEPs in the European Parliament. In advance of this vote of the full parliament my committee the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety committee is voting on the following text on Thursday 12th January:

“The Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety calls on the Committee on International Trade, as the committee responsible, to recommend that Parliament decline to give its consent to the proposal for a Council decision on the conclusion of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada, of the one part, and the European Union and its Member States, of the other part.”

A major cause for concern is the inclusion of a special Investment Court System (ICS) into CETA. This would allow corporations to sue EU member states who wish to introduce strong legislation to protect public health, food safety and environmental legislation for example. There are concerns that this court system will have a chilling effect on the introduction of new legislation.

CETA is enthusiastically supported by the Irish government who believes the deal has the potential to bring benefits to the Irish SME sector. You can read a copy here of An Taoiseach’s letter to me in this regard. The Irish Government also supports the provisional implementation of CETA before it is ratified by each member state parliament.

I am very wary of allowing the introduction of any court that would supersede national courts, and as things stand I intend to vote against CETA when the deal comes before the European Parliament for the final vote.

Timeline for CETA ratification

  • The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) was adopted by the European Council and signed at the EU-Canada Summit on 30 October 2016.
  • After this official signing, the European Parliament will then be asked to vote on the treaty, currently scheduled for early 2017. To pass the treaty requires majority support in parliament.
  • Then if passed by the European Parliament, the treaty will be applied provisionally in advance of each member state voting on the deal in their national parliaments.
  • Each member state will then have to vote to ratify the full treaty – until this point the Investor Court System (ICS) will not be applied.
  • According to the European Commission, a rejection at national level would not cease the provisional application in areas of exclusive EU competence.
  • NOTE – without support of the 28 member state parliaments there would be no Investor Court System, and the treaty would not include all the environmental, labour and fisheries clauses, and there would be no mutual recognition of qualifications for example.