Civil society and trade unions in Europe and Canada call on legislators to reject CETA

455 European and Canadian civil society group say 'no' to CETA

(28 November 2016) In the run up to the European Parlimanent’s vote on the EU-Canada trade and investment agreement CETA,  public interest groups from across Europe and Canada  call on  legislators to vote against the text. 

CETA has brought trade out of the shadows.  Due to the many efforts of EPSU and others certain problematic proposals were dropped during negotiations. Concerns about the final agreement were  also instrumental in securing interpretative clarifications of the text. 

However, CETA falls short of being a template for a modern agreement. 

CETA is presented as a progressive agreement  but in reality it  strengthens the liberalisation agenda that is failing to address today’s real problems.  This is because CETA:

  • liberalises further public services and puts at risk universal, collectively-funded and democratically-run  services  such as healthcare, social services, water and sanitation, waste services, education,  public transport…
  • strengthens the grasp of  Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS)/ investor court system (ICS) that hands over to business ever greater possibilities to  escape regulatory constraints that might jeopardise profits  
  • has insufficient  protections for workers’ and the environment  

The open letter states:

“CETA is not a progressive trade deal. It would be a mistake to adopt this treaty with its many worrying provisions as a model for agreements to come. CETA is a backward-looking and even more intrusive version of the old free trade agenda designed by and for the world’s largest multinationals. We need a paradigm shift towards a transparent and inclusive trade policy founded on the needs of people and our planet. Ratifying CETA will take us many steps further away from this much needed change.”

Amongst its signatories, the letter lists trade unions, farmers’, environmental, public health, human and digital rights groups from both sides of the Atlantic. Their firm “NO” to CETA marks the growing opposition to the controversial agreement, which has also come under fire from legal scholars,  small and medium businesses, as well as economists.

Jan Willem Goudriaan, General Secretary of the European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU),  commented:  “Trade unions have provided ample input into the CETA negotiations to protect public services and strengthen labour rights.   But in spite of last-minute concessions  to clarify the possible interpretation of the agreement our vconcerns are not addressed in the text.   CETA has become a deal that is actually detrimental to the interests of  people. We therefore urge Members of the European Parliament to stand up for citizens, public services and our democracy and vote against CETA.”

For the joint letter ( EN - FR - DE - ES - IT - CZ - BG - RO - HU - Polish - Portuguese - Catalan)

The statement with signatories is here

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