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New Government must move against EU-Canadian Trade deal - Carthy

28 April, 2016 - by Matt Carthy MEP


Following his previous release of commissioned legal advice on the EU trade deal with the US (TTIP) and the denial today of one of Belgian's regional Parliaments to allow the national parliament to sign off on the proposed investment court, Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy, has this week confirmed that independent legal advice on the re-worked Investment Chapter for the EU-Canada Trade Agreement, otherwise known as CETA confirms that it too breaches the Irish Constitution.  

Mr. Carthy called on the new government to adopt a new position on the EU trade agenda in advance of a vote of a ratification of CETA.

The Midlands North West MEP said

“Following an announcement from the European Commission on 29th February that it had "legally reviewed" its Investment Chapter, in light of the moves to replace traditional Investor-State-Dispute-Settlement (ISDS) in TTIP, with a Permanent Investment Court, I sought my own legal advice.

“The very assertive legal advice I received from an eminent senior counsel revealed that the establishment of such a court would be contrary to the Irish Constitution.

“Since then we have seen a “re-worked” chapter in the CETA deal with Canada which also intends to work towards the establishment of an International Investment Court, to which only large corporations will have access to challenge the democratic decisions of sovereign governments.

“The chapter explicitly states that the parties "with other trading partners [shall pursue] the establishment of a multilateral investment tribunal and appellate mechanism"; and all of this without the consultation of the people.

“The very clear updated legal advice I have received is that should the government agree to ratify the Canadian trade deal when it comes before the European Council this summer, it would be doing so in direct contravention of the Irish Constitution by giving away the powers of the Irish Courts to dispense justice and the sole power of the Oireachtas to make law.

The development today in one of Belgium's Regional Parliaments further solidifies the claim that this Investment Court is completely legally unfounded.

“CETA is a bad deal for Ireland and raises serious questions for democratic institutions.  Based on this and on the legal advice which I have sent to the Minister it is clear that the incoming Irish government must vote against its ratification or otherwise hold a referendum on the proposed Investment Court before it signs Ireland up to a flawed agreement.

“I have written repeatedly to the outgoing Minister, Richard Bruton, requesting a meeting on these issues but he has consistently refused to engage.  The European Commission have confirmed to me that they are thoroughly examining the content of the legal opinion I received yet the Irish government, who have a responsibility to uphold our constitution have so far failed to do the same.

“These trade agreements are potentially very dangerous.  The incoming government must protect Irish interests.  The first step in this regard is to inform the commission that they will not ratify CETA when it comes before Council.”

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