Nessa Childers, MEP for Dublin, expressed disappointment over this morning’s majority vote in the European Parliament’s Environment and Public Health committee, in favour of approving CETA, the EU-Canada trade deal.
Speaking after the vote in Brussels today, Ms. Childers, a longstanding opponent of the treaty in its current form, said:
“I am deeply disappointed to see a majority of colleagues in our usually progressive committee are prepared to sign off on a trade agreement which has had negative knock-on effects on protection of the environment and public health even before ratification.
“The negotiations led the Commission to delay and weaken its action on endocrine disrupting chemicals, to name a particularly hazardous example where our transatlantic partners put business ahead of health.
“Fuel cleanliness standards are also being dragged down by the trade weight of a partner who is endowed with, and keen on exporting, the dirtiest kinds of fossil fuels, such as tar sands.
“We have a very different tradition from that of our transatlantic partners when it comes to risks to health and the environment, prioritising caution rather than their ‘go ahead and see’ approach.
“This was the target of an all-out war in these trade negotiations, for the sake of facilitating market access to big business. In this worldview where trade is the measure of all things, regulations business dislikes is by default branded a non-tariff barrier.
“We are being sold a trade deal which, under honest economic modelling, offers very little growth potential for Europe, to the tune of 0.03% of GDP, and an increase in EU exports of 0.05 to 0.07%, potentially with net job losses in Europe!
“In exchange, we are being asked to grant business an exclusive arbitration court themselves alone have recourse to, in order to challenge law-making public decisions which displease them under the trade-above-all provisions of the treaty.
“My opposition is not grounded on protectionism or an anti-trade disposition. I want to see a vibrant transatlantic trading space where the environment, health and safety, social standards and workers’ rights are on an equal legal standing, rather than piecemeal concessions.
“Fine Gael’s pro-treaty group should understand their starry-eyed privileging of big business, and the trail of globalisation losers it leaves behind, is the real threat to an open world which fuels Trumpists and Brexiteers, not those who fight the blatant double standards in trade regimes.”
Note to editors: The vote at the European Parliament’s International Trade Committee will be held in January 24, to be followed by the full vote at the February plenary session.
Contact: Mário Monteiro de Sá +32-474 08 80 19