Commenting on the vote on EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) that took place in the European Parliament today, European Green Party Co-chairs Reinhard Bütikofer and Monica Frassoni said:
“The European Parliament´s vote in favour of the CETA trade agreement with Canada marks a new development in Europe´s overall trade strategy. For the first time, the European Commission has found itself under severe pressure from different societal actors to increase transparency and to allow public scrutiny of the negotiations. It is inconceivable that European trade policy will ever again be an arcane science for international lawyers, hidden from the public eye.
“We have not managed to achieve the level of change that we would have found necessary to support CETA. On the other hand, CETA still has to win ratification in all EU member countries which is by no means guaranteed. Much will depend on the willingness of the Commission to learn its lessons. Global trade must be free and also fair. Smart trade policy abhors corporate privilege as much as it rejects protectionism. This fight goes on.
“Having listened to Commissioner Malmström presenting the CETA agreement, we doubt that the Commission is really willing to listen to citizens. She defended CETA as a model agreement, effectively denying the shortcomings. Superficial reforms of investor privileges, which are at best a tiny little beginning, are being presented as a gold standard. This signals: Trade policy reform has to be forced upon the Commission.”