Canada-EU deal likely to result in ‘deluge’ of big business cases brought against European governments
- Over 300,000 across Germany demonstrate against trade agreement
- British government to push for undemocratic implementation before Brexit
A new trade deal about to be signed between Canada and the EU will open the floodgates to Canadian and US corporations suing European governments. Those are the findings of a new report released today by European campaign groups including Global Justice Now and Corporate Europe Observatory. The report is released after a weekend of demonstrations across Europe which involved well over 300,000 protestors opposed to the deal.
The Comprehensive Economic & Trade Agreement – known as CETA – is due to be signed off by European governments in October, and the European parliament over the Autumn. But the massive campaign against CETA’s better known sister agreement TTIP, a deal between the US and EU, has now thrown the CETA deal into question too. On Saturday, over 300,000 citizens protested against CETA in Germany, where warfare has broken out in the country’s centre-left SPD party over the deal.
CETA contains many similar provisions to TTIP, including a special legal system allowing Canadian corporations to sue European governments for introducing laws deemed damaging to their profits. Today’s report, published by campaign groups including Corporate Europe Observatory and Transnational Institute, says this system “could dangerously thwart government efforts to protect citizens and the environment”.
The report finds that:
- Under a comparable treaty, Canada has been sued 37 times, mostly for trying to introducing better environmental regulation. Billions of dollars are currently sought from Canada. In many ways, CETA gives corporations even clearer powers to sue.
- Financial regulation is particularly under threat under CETA which hands big banks more power to challenge financial regulation they don’t like
- European states also risk being sued by thousands of the biggest US multinationals through their subsidiaries in Canada.
Nick Dearden of Global Justice Now said:
“CETA would open up our government to a deluge of court cases by North American multinational corporations and investors. It presents a threat to our ability to protect the environment, to protect the public and to limit the power of big banks. It’s thoroughly undemocratic and must be stopped.
“Particularly incredible is that the British government – which says it wants to reclaim powers from the EU – is actually trying to implement this deal before a vote, or even debate, in Westminster has taken place. They want to lock us into this deal so it still applies after Brexit, and no government would be able to get out of CETA without giving a 20 year notice period. How is that ‘taking back control’?”