CETA just imploded, future of the deal uncertain

In what can only be described as an epic failure, the European Union has failed to reach consensus on signing Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) and there will be no signing ceremony on Thursday, October 27. Once promoted as “inevitable,” CETA has become “impossible” in its current form.

“Democracy has prevailed and the agenda to boost corporate rights is in tatters,” says Maude Barlow, National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians. “This isn’t about internal Belgian politics. Millions of people across Europe and Canada have rejected this deal, including many Members of European Parliament, unions, environmental groups and farmers.”

More than‎ 3.5 million people signed a petition against CETA and 320,000 people marched against CETA in cities across Germany last month. Eighty-eight per cent of Austrians oppose CETA because it shifts power to transnational corporations, while 81 per cent of people in France said they believed CETA would undermine French standards protecting health, food quality, the environment and the climate. Several other EU member state governments also have concerns about CETA, but were unwilling to block the deal. Only 17 per cent of Germans support CETA and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with the United States.

“If CETA hadn’t failed now, it would have failed eventually because of the arrogance of politicians not listening to people,” says Sujata Dey, Trade Campaigner with the Council of Canadians. “There is a new paradigm emerging of how trade deals should be done. If our elected officials continue to ignore the will of the people they represent, they will continue to fail.”

Belgium’s federal government had been given an ultimatum by the EU to pressure Wallonia into accepting the deal. A few days ago, Walloon minister-president Paul Magnette stated, “This treaty affects the lives of 500 million Europeans and 35 million Canadians for years and years. We can take a few weeks, a few months to analyze the problems and overcome them.”

The Council of Canadians supports fair trade that allows goods and people to move across borders without granting special rights to corporations.