Wednesday

18th Oct 2017

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.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

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.

EU rejects UK claim it's slowing Brexit talks

The EU is "not confident, but hopeful" that the UK will achieve sufficient progress for 'stage 2' by December, as Britain's Brexit negotiator blames the slow pace of negotiations on the EU ahead of a crucial summit meeting.

News in Brief

  1. Spanish Court declares Catalan referendum law void
  2. EU to keep 'Dieselgate' letter secret
  3. No deal yet on Mediterranean alliance for EU agencies
  4. EU Commission condemns Maltese journalist's murder
  5. Poland denies wrongdoing over forest logging
  6. Risk to asylum kids in EU increasing, says charity
  7. Schroeder warns of Turkey and Russia drifting towards China
  8. EU parliament wants equal pay for posted workers

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EU2017EENorth Korea Leaves Europe No Choice, Says Estonian Foreign Minister Sven Mikser
  2. Mission of China to the EUZhang Ming Appointed New Ambassador of the Mission of China to the EU
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsEU Should Seek Concrete Commitments From Azerbaijan at Human Rights Dialogue
  4. European Jewish CongressEJC Calls for New Austrian Government to Exclude Extremist Freedom Party
  5. CES - Silicones EuropeIn Healthcare, Silicones Are the Frontrunner. And That's a Good Thing!
  6. EU2017EEEuropean Space Week 2017 in Tallinn from November 3-9. Register Now!
  7. European Entrepreneurs CEA-PMEMobiliseSME Exchange Programme Open Doors for 400 Companies Across Europe
  8. CECEE-Privacy Regulation – Hands off M2M Communication!
  9. ILGA-EuropeHealth4LGBTI: Reducing Health Inequalities Experienced by LGBTI People
  10. EU2017EEEHealth: A Tool for More Equal Health
  11. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Tourism a Key Driver for Job Creation and Enhanced Competitiveness
  12. CECENon-Harmonised Homologation of Mobile Machinery Costs € 90 Million per Year

Latest News

  1. EU rejects UK claim it's slowing Brexit talks
  2. Nepal troops arrive in Libya to guard UN refugee agency
  3. Is Banking Authority HQ the Brexit 'booby prize'?
  4. EU-Russia trade bouncing back - despite sanctions
  5. No sign of Brexit speed-up after May-Juncker dinner
  6. EU defence strategy 'outsourced' to arms industry
  7. EU privacy rules tilt to industry, NGO says
  8. Malta in shock after car bomb kills crusading journalist