(14 March 2016) The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between the European Union and Canada has largely slipped under the radar of the media and public, despite much controversy surrounding its details. Yet with it’s finer details now made public, it is clear is that this is not a good deal for Europe. If passed, CETA will have far-reaching consequences for workers’ rights, public services and democracy as a whole, and will moreover set a worrying precedent for future trade deals – including TTIP.
EPSU want this to change, and we will increase our efforts over the coming weeks and months to highlight the threat that CETA poses among politicians, the media and European citizens. EPSU use the occasion of an exchange of views on CETA in INTA today (Monday 14 March 2016) with Jean-Luc Demarty, Director General of DG Trade, to reiterate CETA’s biggest problems – problems that we have been voicing consistently since negotiations began in 2009. We launch our accelerated campaign with a letter to members of the International Trade Committee (INTA) of the European Parliament today, calling for an outright rejection of CETA from Parliamentarians.
Our concerns* can be summarised as follows:
-# The inclusion of public services in CETA.
-# CETA’s ‘negative list’ approach for services commitments and the inclusion of ‘standstill’ and ‘ratchet’ mechanisms that lock-in liberalisation.
-# CETA’s restrictions on universal service obligations in public utilities.
-# CETA’s far-reaching investment protection provisions.
-# CETA’s weak provisions for human rights, including workers’ rights.
The European Commission has tried to bat away these concerns, reiterating past claims that the EU’s “tried and tested” techniques for safeguarding public services in trade agreements have not seen any major problems in the last 20 years. But CETA is not the same as previous trade agreements. It contains a raft of new provisions that alter the balance of protections for public services and raises the worrying suggestion that the EU no longer has anything to do with public services; that each and every one is up for grabs by foreign investors should member states so wish. EPSU will not stand for this and will endeavour to prevent this bad deal from going through, on behalf of our members and for the protection of quality public services as a whole. We hope you will join us.
*Please see attached document for our concerns outlined in detail :
- for our letter to the MEPs INTA Committee :