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CETA and EU regressive trade agenda, should be allowed to Rest in Peace - Carthy

24 October, 2016 - by Matt Carthy MEP

Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands North West has welcomed the cancellation of the EU-Canada Summit following the confirmation on Monday that the position of the French Speaking Wallonian regional Parliament has meant that Belgium cannot give its consent to the CETA trade agreement. 

Speaking from Strasbourg Carthy said:

“Despite serious pressure from the European Commission, the Wallonain Parliament has today confirmed that it will not grant its consent to the EU Canada Free Trade Agreement, CETA, meaning that Belgium cannot sign up to the toxic deal which has at its heart the controversial and undemocratic Investment Court System.

"This is a victory for not only regions, such as Wallonia, who have been severely impacted by job losses over the past 10 years, but also for citizens all over Europe who have campaigned hard to defeat this deal.

“Over the last week, the Wallonian Parliament has been victim to threats and ultimatums to ratify CETA, despite two clear democratic votes over the last year against the terms of the deal.

"The French speaking Belgian region has been threatened in terms of the funding it receives from the EU and has been challenged by the EU Trade Commissioner and Presidents of the European Institutions, all of whom have wilfully ignored the millions of citizens, lawyers and judges who have come out against this deal over the last year.  

"Regardless of their own position on CETA the Irish Government should have been demanding that the Belgian political process be respected.

“It is clear that the Wallonion Parliament has spent more time and carried out more analysis on the true impact of CETA than most national parliaments, certainly more than the Dáil in Dublin.

"The Irish Government not only chose to completely ignore the vote in the Seanad earlier this month against CETA, but has prevented any real debate taken place at Dáil level.

"Fine Gael’s EPP group have blocked proposals for reports from European Parliament committees including the Agriculture & Rural development committee.

“The EU institutions need to recognise that there is no popular support among citizens for trade deals like CETA.  

"There is a requirement for a serious re-think of the EU’s trade policy agenda.  

"This agreement, a precursor for the TTIP, was presented to the people under the same old pretences of ‘what’s good for trade is good for jobs’.

"However a strong campaign by civil societies, trade unions, farming organisations, left-wing and progressive political parties has ensured that the real issues have come to the forefront. 

“As an MEP representing a rural constituency that could stand to lose our massively from this type of deal, I send my solidarity to parliamentarians in Wallonia.

"I will continue to push for a proper debate in Ireland so that the Irish people are offered a real discussion on the consequences .

“CETA, and the EU’s wider regressive trade agenda, must be allowed to rest in Peace.

"The European institutions and their cheerleader governments must recognise that their trade agenda has failed all democratic its first democratic test.

"It’s time for a new, progressive, citizen-centred trade policy to be adopted.”

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