SNP MEPs will vote against ‘toxic’ EU-Canada trade deal tomorrow in Strasbourg

SNP MEPs will vote against ‘toxic’ EU-Canada trade deal tomorrow in Strasbourg

Date: 14 February 2017

Responding to the news that SNP MEPs Ian Hudghton and Alyn Smyth will be voting against the controversial trade deal between the EU and Canada tomorrow at the European parliament in Strasbourg, Liz Murray from campaign group Global Justice Now Scotland said:

“We’re really pleased that the SNP MEPs, Ian Hudghton and Alyn Smith, have confirmed that they will vote against the toxic EU-Canada trade deal CETA tomorrow.  They’ve come under sustained pressure from a very concerned Scottish public who understand that CETA will reach far beyond the selling of goods between here and Canada and affect many other aspects of life in Scotland.  CETA will hand multinational corporations a much greater role in the making of laws, and could spark a race to the bottom in standards for important areas like food safety and environmental regulation.  And it could result in governments being sued by big business for making decisions like banning fracking.  

“Clearly the Scottish MEPs carry a great weight of responsibility in their vote on CETA. We’re glad that the SNP MEPs have taken that responsibility so seriously.  Worryingly, the two Scottish Labour MEPs have indicated that they will be voting in favour of CETA tomorrow.  We urge them to listen to their constituents’ concerns and to reconsider their vote.”

The controversial free trade deal between the UK and Canada will be voted on by the European parliament on Wednesday 15 February in Strasbourg. Over three million people across Europe have signed a petition calling for the deal to be scrapped, arguing that the deal will hand a raft of new powers over to corporations enabling them to influence and weaken government policies relating to the public sector, labour rights, consumer standards and the environment.

Liam Fox, the Secretary for International Trade has been accused of trying to dodge proper parliamentary scrutiny of the deal, after failing to fulfil a commitment for a parliament-wide debate and instead holding a smaller committee debate last Monday while the rest of parliament was debating the Brexit Bill.

An expert opinion on CETA and Brexit has shown that if the UK doesn’t formally leave the EU before CETA is ratified, then it would be tied into the ‘corporate courts system’ of the trade deal for a period of twenty years after announcing any intention to leave the deal.

If MEPs vote in favour of CETA on Wednesday in the European parliament, the deal will still need to be approved in national parliaments across the EU, although large parts of the deal will start to come into effect on a provisional basis on the first of March.

CETA has been widely opposed by civil society groups across Europe and Canada because:

  • it contains a similar system to TTIP that enables corporations to sue governments for enacting laws and regulations that might harm their profits
  • negotiations have already laid the basis for tar sands oil – one of the world’s most environmentally destructive fossil fuels – to flow into Europe. If CETA comes into effect, the import and production of this toxic fuel will increase, devastating the environment.
  • it contains a ‘Regulatory Cooperation’ chapter which threatens to hand multinationals a greater role in the formulation of making laws, and sparking a race to the bottom in standards for important areas like food safety and environmental regulation.
  • it locks in privatisation and deregulation at current levels  for a wide range of services.

More information:

Global Justice Now briefing on CETA

Nick Dearden writing for the Independent today, By signing CETA with Justin Trudeau, the EU isn’t undermining Donald Trump – they’re helping him.

Image: Globla Justice Now Glasgow hold a CETA protest outside the SNP conference in October. Flickr