Wednesday

6th Jul 2022

EU-Canada deal to remain unchanged, trade chief tells Germany

  • Malmstrom - EU-Canada deal will be left unchanged. (Photo: cosilium.europa.eu)

An EU-Canada trade agreement will include controversial investor protection clauses, the EU's new trade commissioner has confirmed.

Following a meeting in Berlin on Monday (10 November) with Sigmar Gabriel, leader of the SPD and a minister in Angela Merkel's coalition government, Cecilia Malmstrom said that only "minor clarifications and adjustments" could be made to the EU-Canada deal, known as CETA.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

Trade officials have so far spent more than four years negotiating the draft text.

The investor protection clauses, known as investor state dispute settlement, have become the most controversial part of both CETA and the talks on a transatlantic trade and investment partnership, known as TTIP, with the US.

The centre-left Socialist and Democrat group, to which Gabriel's SPD belongs, is conditioning its support for TTIP and CETA on the removal of investor protection clauses which, it says, could make it easier for companies to sue governments if legislation adversely affects their investments.

"The chapter regarding investment protection is not approvable," Gabriel told deputies during a debate in the Bundestag in September.

However, despite telling MEPs at her parliament hearing last month that excluding ISDS from the EU-Canada deal could "unravel the agreement", Malmstrom has left her options open on whether to include the clauses in TTIP.

Having been formally signed off by EU and Canadian leaders in September, CETA will be put in front of MEPs in 2015, needing a parliamentary majority if it is to be successfully ratified.

Meanwhile, with the Greens and left-wing Gue group vocally opposed to the trade deals, both TTIP and CETA face an uncertain ratification process.

Campaign groups demanding that the Commission halt its work in negotiating free trade deals have also upped their activities in recent months.

On Monday the Stop TTIP coalition, composed of over 300 campaign groups from across Europe, filed a lawsuit against the European Commission to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg in protest at the Commission's refusal to accept their citizens' initiative aimed at halting the trade talks.

In September the Commission refused to accept an anti-TTIP petition which campaign groups had wanted to be classified as a European Citizens' Initiative (ECI).

Under the Lisbon treaty, a petition must be signed by more than one million Europeans and relate to a piece of EU policy-making to be classified as an ECI.

The EU executive ruled that the petition was inadmissible as a citizens' initiative because it did not relate to law or policy that is already in force.

Had the initiative been accepted it would have required the Commission to review its policy on the trade talks and to hold a public hearing in the European parliament.

Michael Efler, a member of the campaign group behind the initiative, said that the Commission's position "effectively prevents any future ECIs on international agreements“.

"When it comes to the negotiation of international treaties, the European Commission wants to exclude citizens. While they are being negotiated, people are told not to interfere and when final contracts are put on the table, it’s too late," he added.

A second anti-TTIP petition launched last month has now gathered more than 850,000 signatures.

Opinion

Is China a challenge to Nato? Beijing responds

The Chinese mission to the EU responds to last week's Madrid Nato summit, which stated China posed "systemic challenges" and warned against the "deepening strategic partnership between Russia and China".

News in Brief

  1. Turkey signs Nato protocol despite Sweden extradition row
  2. European gas production hit by Norway strike
  3. EU Commission told to step up fight against CAP fraud
  4. Ukraine needs €719bn to rebuild, says PM
  5. Germany records first monthly trade deficit since 1991
  6. Pilots from Denmark, Norway, and Sweden strike
  7. Report: EU to sign hydrogen deal with Namibia
  8. Israel and Poland to mend relations

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers write to EU about new food labelling
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis
  4. Council of the EUEU: new rules on corporate sustainability reporting
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers for culture: Protect Ukraine’s cultural heritage!
  6. Reuters InstituteDigital News Report 2022

Latest News

  1. 'World is watching', as MEPs vote on green finance rules
  2. Turkey sends mixed signals on Sweden's entry into Nato
  3. EU Parliament sued over secrecy on Nazi MEP expenses
  4. Italy glacier tragedy has 'everything to do' with climate change
  5. The Digital Services Act — a case-study in keeping public in dark
  6. Report slams German opposition to new child sexual abuse rules
  7. Is China a challenge to Nato? Beijing responds
  8. ECB announces major green shift in corporate bond-buying

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us