After almost two years of relentless works, yesterday in Strasbourg, the European Parliament gave its approval to the transatlantic Agreement binding Canada to the European Union.
It is without taking into account the support of the ecologists and much of the socialists that a majority of the liberal members (ALDE), the conservatives (PPE and CRE) and an half of social democrats ( S&D) voted « yes » for the CETA. It thus results the temporary implementation of the agreement of free exchange between the EU and Canada. It is not exaggerated to say that it represents one of the most important bilateral agreement never concluded previously in the history. Let’s quickly put back elements of the CETA’s approval in their context.
On January 24th, the commission committee « international trade » voted for the approval of the implementation of the CETA with 25 votes for, 15 votes against and one abstention. Little by little, the European Union gets closer to a strong trade agreement between our continent and our distant accomplices, the Canadians.
After tempestuous case of the « TTIP » which made clearly more waves and which was especially much less estimated, the EU envisaged an economic transatlantic agreement, either with the United States, but with its neighbour Canada. Considered « probably less capitalist”, it has even more to share in terms of common values with European Union, such as environment, social security and health. It is probably for that reason that the population is less hostile to this agreement. However, we are still very far from one « yes » dress rehearsal and it is moreover the reason why the subject carries in the debate since the last autumn.
The vote of the international trade committee represents a very big step, although « not really official » and rather symbolism. The president of the « International trade Committee », Bernd Lange ( PPE) considers that « It is a strong and important signal in favour of the regulations of the globalization ».
Pros and Cons of the CETA
The partisans of this agreement emit the probability that this agreement will inject 12 billion euros in our economy and 8,5 in Canada’s one. This figure, so uncertain as important, shall thus represent a considerable advantage to restart the economies of our countries. Furthermore, it would allow to grow our investments and at the same time to finish it with the customs duties. However, the opponents of the agreement do not think that the environmental standards will be respected and see in this agreement the spectre of the TTIP. According to the Berkeley Political Review, opponents argued “that CETA would lead to more privatization, increase the price of pharmaceuticals, and decrease environmental, labor, and food standards. » The EU has relatively high standards while Canada has not yet passed all of the International Labor Organization’s conventions. Opponents also disliked that CETA was passed without full transparency. In a less brighter side, some agricultural products as eggs, chicken or turkey meat for example are not ensured by the CETA. It means that these products are not covered by the treaty and so not protected. On the other hand, one of the biggest problem of the CETA is the introduction of private court. So the judges can be any lawyers and can be choosed one-sidedly.
When will the treaty come into effect?
« As soon as Canada will have ratified it », as the European Commission said.
From April, most of the tariffs between Europe and Canada will already disappear and European companies will have access to the services market and to the public procurements in Canada, and vice versa. But only temporarily and with the exception of the « protection of the investors », which allows the companies to ask for repair if the profitability of their investments is questioned, for example, by a change of legislation or a nationalization.
The Ceta will come into full effect after the vote of about forty regional and national Parliaments, which could set several years. If one of them opposes and its demands cannot be satisfied, the Ceta treaty will stop applying.
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