In February, European lawmakers voted to approve a disputed Canada-EU trade deal called CETA, something that could boost tar sands imports into the EU. The European Parliament vote was passed 408 to 254, following an intense argument in Strasbourg with protests went on outside.
“The deal isn’t yet secure,” according to Mark Dearn, senior trade campaigner at War on Want, which campaigns on global inequality. “CETA has been passed by the European Parliament today [15 February 2017], but its future remains far from certain due to legal hurdles it still faces and entrenched opposition in countries which are yet to vote on the deal. As a key EU committee, has ruled, CETA will worsen inequality and increase social tensions across the continent. Its secret negotiation process was used to bring tar sands oil into Europe for the first time. Worse still, CETA’s ‘corporate court’ process destroys equality before the law and will give big business new powers to sue our government.”
The negotiations found many scientists and organisations opposing the deal as the deal is considered to be a significant blow to the climate. Even in a post- Brexit UK, there were protests against the deal and as Keith Taylor, Green MEP for the South East and a member of the European Parliament’s Environment committee, said: “CETA is a bad deal for the people of Britain, Europe, and even Canada, but a great deal for multinational corporations keen to escape the democratic oversight of national parliaments. It is little wonder that it is citizens across Europe and in North America that are the loudest and more determined opponents of this toxic trade deal.”
As Mr. Garry Carr, Senior Lecturer at Leeds Beckett Business School mentioned “When you buy coal from a country where your regulations don’t apply, then you buy from somewhere that the environment is not protected as much as you wanted to be”.
However, many are those in favor of the deal, as it is believed that it will improve the European economy by €12 billion ($13.5 billion). Among the supporters is the International Monetary Fund Managing Director, Christine Lagardem, who said in the conference that the deal has been perceived positively at the recent G20 Summit in China. “There were some very favourable views expressed on both sides to support the Canada and Europe trade deal, so let’s hope that that one can be put to bed,” she stated.
It is still too early to applaud or denounce the deal. In July, the European Commission announced that the EU’s 28 national parliaments would have to vote on the treaty before it can be definitively adopted. “We understand the need for proposing it as a ‘mixed’ agreement, in order to allow for a speedy signature,” Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström said.
As Mr. Carr added: “Is it best to have cheap resources so you can produce cheap things or is it best to employ people? These are difficult questions to answer. You get cheaper resources but on the other hand it might put people out of jobs in some of the EU countries. For every good thing for globalisation there is a bad thing”.
PHOTO Alex Indigo