Global Justice Now | Less than 24hrs left – we need help NOW to push against CET

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22 November 2016

In less than 24 hours, members of the European parliament (MEPs) will be asked to vote on whether the new system of corporate courts, proposed by the EU/Canada trade deal, the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement [CETA], should be scrutinised by the European Court of Justice before it comes into force.

Last night MEPs voted to block any debate taking place before the vote, so your action is even more crucial.

Why this is important

One of the big problems with the toxic trade deal between Canada and the EU is the system of corporate courts that allow corporations to sue governments for passing laws that might harm their profits. This assault on democracy is called the Investor Court System (ICS).

A group of 89 MEPs quite rightly think that this controversial new court system needs much more scrutiny before it is unleashed across Europe, and they’ve made a proposal that ICS should be referred to the legal experts at the European Court of Justice.

We need all our MEPs to support the very sensible demand that the corporate court system should be scrutinized by legal experts.
But some EU leaders are determined to force this toxic trade deal through at top speed at any cost. They have insisted that this vote should be pushed forward tomorrow, Wednesday 23 November. Party leaders are even insisting MEPs withdraw their support for the motion tabled for Wednesday. These politicians know that if there is proper legal scrutiny from the European Court of Justice, then it could jeopardise the whole deal.
This is not democracy, this is politicians pushing toxic trade deals through at breakneck speed with no debate and at great risk to our legal systems. If CETA is pushed through like this it will still impact the UK regardless of when Brexit happens.

Please email your MEPs now

Stop TTIP | CETA – Dead or just wounded?

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Dear friends,

We were all holding our breath during Wallonia’s valiant battle against the concentrated power of the EU’s free trade lobby. Reading today’s headlines, you might think Wallonia has finally given in to CETA.

No, they have not. The EU-Canada trade deal is now further from being approved than it was 10 days ago.

In the new agreement, four of Belgium’s seven governments clearly say that they will not ratify CETA if there are no changes to ICS, the special court for foreign investors. Should the EU and Canada want to disarm this ticking time bomb, they will have to agree on some substantial, legally binding changes.

Belgium will also request a legal opinion of the European Court of Justice on ICS, meeting one of our long-standing demands. Just last week, we published a joint declaration of over 100 European legal experts who seriously doubt if ICS and ISDS are compatible with EU law.

So if you feel like celebrating an important victory from our resistance, this looks like the right time to do so.

We’ve shaken the EU’s schedule of CETA’s approval. Instead of nice pictures with Trudeau, Juncker and Malmström clinking their Champagne glasses, many of today’s headlines talk about why citizens, entrepreneurs, trade unions and over 2000 local & regional councils across the European Union are opposing CETA. This is a big breakthrough moment for all of us.

However, the fight is not over yet! The Belgian declaration might cause some headache in the Council for the coming days and loom, as the sword of Damocles, over the ratification procedure, but it won’t halt the machinery.

Next station for CETA is the European Parliament.Therefore, the next step for us is to contact our representatives in the Parliament and discuss CETA publicly. If you have not yet used the CETA CHECK to do this – now is the time.

Do the CETA CHECK!

And you don’t need to stop there.

Last week, citizens from all across Europe went to Brussels to meet their Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) on CETA. To share their experience with you, we followed them and made a few video interviews.

As your elected representative, it’s an MEP’s job to tell you where they stand on CETA. You don’t even have to go to Brussels to talk to them. For example, next week MEPs will be home to talk to their electorate – look out for events with them in your area. Give them a call or go and visit them in their local office: you can find all the numbers and addresses on the CETA CHECK.

Wallonia’s success was only possible thanks to your firm support. They have shown us (and other sceptical governments) that the CETA machine is definitely not invincible. So let’s keep up the fight and stop these murky, undemocratic trade deals for good!

Venceremos,

Your Stop TTIP team,
Dániel Fehér, Stephanie Roth and Matthew Read

Canadian TTIP deal is on the ropes – MEPs listened to you!

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Canadian TTIP deal is on the ropes – MEPs listened to you!

Last week was full of successes in our fight against the toxic trade deals set to undermine our democracy. UK parliamentarians listened to your concerns and spoke out in Brussels.

Across Europe, politicians sounded the death knell for hated EU-US deal TTIP. In Germany, France and Austria, leaders all ‘spoke out against the deal. *

Your MEPs are listening – tell them that now is the time to kill off TTIP and CETA for good!

CETA is no different from TTIP. It champions the same agenda of deregulation, privatisation and ‘corporate courts’, all with the same aim – big business profits, whatever the cost to people and planet. Worst of all, under CETA, the UK could be sued in CETA’s corporate courts up to 20 years after Brexit.

At last week’s European Parliament trade committee meeting, UK MEPs highlighted that they have repeatedly heard concerns about CETA from their constituents. The MEPs said they are worried about CETA’s:

  • agenda for workers’ rights, public services, and its proposed ISDS ‘corporate courts’
  • failure to meet five European Parliament conditions for ISDS ‘corporate courts’
  • strong rights for investors, but weak rights for workers – an “inequality” in trade deals that must be addressed.

Trade deals like TTIP and CETA do more harm than good to Europe.

Your MEPs are listening – tell them that now is the time to kill off TTIP and CETA for good!

* But as we explained on Politics.co.uk, this about-face is connected to their desire to push through EU-Canada deal, CETA.

War on Want  have prepared the following message to send:

Dear Member of the European Parliament,

I write to you to ask that you commit to oppose EU-US trade deal the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and EU-Canada deal the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).

TTIP is opposed across Europe – by a huge number of the public, by civil society organisations and by elected politicians. It is clear that TTIP will not be passed this year and that, in the words of French trade minister Mathias Fekl, negotiations started “in a spirit of opacity”.

We believe that Mr Fekl is correct in his demand that negotiations on TTIP must be stopped. Indeed, this is the call from more than 3.4 million people across Europe who demand an immediate end to negotiations on both TTIP and CETA.

As UK Labour MEPs warned the INTA committee of the European Parliament on August 31, they have concerns around CETA’s agenda for workers’ rights, public services and its proposed ‘Investor Court System’ (ICS). Additionally, they highlighted their belief that ICS fails to meet the European Parliament’s five conditions for investor-state dispute settlement, determined for the Parliament’s TTIP resolution in 2015.

To date, there has been no impact assessment of this huge trade deal which will affect everything from jobs to food safety rules, and the importing of high-polluting tar sands oil. Additionally, the European Parliament’s many committees – which cover issues of direct relevance for CETA, from agriculture, to the environment and legal affairs – have not provided any expert opinion on the deal.

I join with the millions across Europe who call for an immediate end to negotiations on TTIP and CETA – and the 240 civil society organisations who have already called on the European Council to withdraw the mandate for the European Commission to negotiate TTIP, with immediate effect.

Trade must not jeopardise our ability to craft strong social, health and environmental protection rules; it must protect our ability to provide public services; and it must not create privileged rights for investors which supersede a state’s ability to act in the public interest. Critically, trade deals must be negotiated and approved in line with the highest democratic standards of accountability and transparency.

Yours faithfully,

Paul Bull

War On Want | CETA deal on the brink of collapse as Canada admits defeat

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21 October 2016
Press Release | For immediate release

CETA deal on the brink of collapse as Canada admits defeat

Controversial EU-Canada deal CETA is on the brink of collapse with Canada’s trade minister stating that talks to save the deal have failed and that she is “very, very sad”.

The European Commission has been desperately trying to conclude CETA this week in the face of stiff opposition across Europe, including within the governments of Belgium, Germany, Poland and others. The Belgian regional government of Walloon has been key to blocking the deal – its Minister-President Paul Magnette has received a hero’s reception across social media.

The admission that talks between Canada and Walloon have failed is a humiliating defeat for the European Commission. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was due to visit Europe next week to sign the deal – it is now unclear whether this will go ahead.

War on Want senior trade campaigner Mark Dearn said: “Canada’s trade minister may be ‘very, very sad’, but there are millions of people in Europe who will be very, very happy. Since talks first started on CETA back in 2009, the deal has sat alongside TTIP as an example of how not to do a trade deal – absolute secrecy, zero input from public interest groups and sheer contempt for the very valid concerns of people across Europe.

“Today we have seen the European Commission’s chickens come home to roost: it’s frankly ridiculous to first admit that the CETA text is flawed, then scrabble to piece together a flimsy PR ‘declaration’ to supposedly solve those problems, give governments next to no time to properly analyse it, and all the while call anyone questioning the deal and this process ‘anti-trade’.

“If the Commission fails at yet another trade deal, the fault lies wholly with its anti-democratic approach.”

A study published last month revealed the threat of CETA to jobs, growth and intra-EU trade. This was followed by an admission from trade committee MEPs that the deal’s text was flawed and failed to adequately address concerns around workers’ rights, public services and the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) ‘corporate court’ system.

After MEPs criticised flaws in the CETA text, Canada and the European Commission pieced together a ‘declaration’ in a desperate attempt to save the deal, which both sides refuse to re-open for negotiation. Then, last week, a group of MEPs attempted to rush through a vote on CETA before Christmas, foregoing any opportunity for European Parliament committees to scrutinise the wide-ranging deal.

After learning that it had only seven days to scrutinise the CETA ‘declaration’, Minister-President of Wallonia (Belgium), Paul-Magnette, labelled the Commission’s timeline “an unacceptable violation of our democratic principles”.

If CETA passes through its full ratification process, the UK can be sued by US and Canadian corporations under the deal’s ‘corporate court’ investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism for up to 20 years after Brexit.

ENDS

Notes for editors

For further information and interviews, contact Mark Dearn on +44 7804 289680 or Ross Hemingway on +44 7983 550728

For more on CETA, visit: www.waronwant.org/what-ceta

Canada trade minister admits CETA talks with Wallonia have failed: http://www.rtbf.be/info/dossier/ceta-la-wallonie-defie-l-europe-et-le-ca…

CBC report on trade talks collapse: http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/canada-eu-ceta-brussels-friday-1.3815332

Study from Tufts University on the economic impact of CETA on Europe:http://www.ase.tufts.edu/gdae/policy_research/ceta_simulations.html

For more information on the German court ruling:http://www.dw.com/en/germanys-top-court-allows-ceta-trade-deal-to-go-ahead/a-36029183

Wallonia speaks out against seven-day timeline:http://www.brusselstimes.com/belgium/6617/walloon-government-seven-days-to-give-its-opinion-on-transatlantic-free-trade-treaties-violation-of-democracy

Belgian regional government may block CETA:http://www.politico.eu/article/belgian-regional-government-set-to-block-eu-canada-trade-deal/