European Parliament approves controversial free trade agreement between the EU & Canada - CETA

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Article
15 February 2017

CETA approval in EU Parliament sinks corporate hooks into European democracy

Author: Corporate Europe Observatory

Despite unprecedented public opposition, the European Parliament today approved the controversial EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).  The vote flies in the face of millions of people, as well as trade unions, environmentalists and a broad civil society coalition who called for a rejection of the deal in both Europe and Canada.  Corporate Europe Observatory’s trade policy campaigner Pia Eberhardt said: “...CETA is a huge gift to big corporations, which gives them unprecedented powers.  Corporate lobbyists will be popping champagne corks over today’s vote.  “But it’s a sad day for democracy and for the millions of Europeans and Canadians who have been demanding trade rules that benefit people and the environment.”  CETA sets dangerous precedents as it contains rules which corporations have pushed for years, but which have never before been part of an EU trade deal.  These new, far-reaching privileges empower foreign investors to sue governments, grant early and exclusive access to the legislative process for business lobbyists who want to lower protection in areas such as environmental policies and food standards, and make it possible to lock in the privatisation of public services...

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Article
15 February 2017

EU: Parliament approves trade deal with Canada, amid concerns for labour rights & food safety standards

Author: Raf Casert, Associated Press

"CETA: EU approves trade deal with Canada", 15 Feb 2017

The European Union’s parliament approved a trade deal with Canada on Wednesday, extolling the pact as a sign of co-operation at a time when many political forces are trying to halt globalization...[T]he EU’s legislature approved the deal by a margin of 408 for, 254 against with 33 abstentions, allowing for its provisional entry into force...The deal will drop barriers between the EU’s economy of half a billion people and Canada’s 35 million...Critics say it could dilute standards for food safety or labour rights by giving more power to big corporations...[C]oncerns about the deal’s implications were palpable among activists and protesters.  “What will happen is more and more deregulation, less social protection for citizens, for small companies, for independent workers,” said Maika Fernandes, who had travelled from Alicante, southern Spain.  “No one will be able to compete with the multinationals.  It will be a financial Europe that will favour only big multinationals.”...EU trade chief Cecilia Malmstrom tried to assuage those concerns saying it “will not change food safety standards or any other EU requirements. Only the EU institutions can do that.”...

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