Academic journal article Global Economic Observer

The CETA Treaty - the Trojan Horse of Europeanization

Academic journal article Global Economic Observer

The CETA Treaty - the Trojan Horse of Europeanization

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

On September 21, 2017, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between Canada and the European Union (CETA) entered into force, creating new opportunities for both the EU and Canada. In this context, the customs duties between Canada and the EU member states have been eliminated at a rate of 98%. The agreement creates new and far-reaching opportunities for both European and Canadian countries, opens new markets for exporters, generates quality jobs and strengthens the existing relationship between Canada's economy and the economies of the EU.

2. Arbitration tribunals - the most controversial side

European Commissioner for Trade, Cecilia Malstrom, remained discreet after signing on 27 October 2016, first by Belgium (then by EU presidency) of the Free Trade Agreement with Canada, known as the CETA Treaty (Cecile Ducourtieux et Jean-Pierre Stroobants, La ratification du CETA reste semee d'embuches, in Le Monde, Economie et Entreprise, 29 octobre 2016, p. 4). Mrs. Malstrom posted the following comment on the tweet: "Finally, white smoke on CETA. The Belgians agreed. Let us hope that once will be found quickly for an EUCanada summit. "

After initially saying NO to the CETA Treaty on the grounds that it is a threat to the economy and regional social standards, the Parliament and Wallonia's Prime Minister, Socialist Paul Magnette, have obtained an agreement considered "honorable".

The interpretative statement on the CETA provisions - a point of view signed by the representatives of Austria, Germany and Slovenia - was negotiated separately from Wallonia and the Brussels region, which provided Canada with guarantees that the social protection of their citizens would not be affected by the Treaty, as well as a withdrawal clause for a CETA country, if imports of Canadian agricultural products disturb the country too much.

Arbitration tribunals between multinationals and EU Member States - the most controversial part of the agreement - will not be implemented during the provisional implementation period of the CETA agreement; the Ministers of the 28 EU Member States agreed on this provision on 18 October 2016.

Following the negotiations with Canada on the treaty, held between 19 and 26 October 2016, the Kingdom of Belgium committed itself to refer the matter to the Court of Justice of the EU on the compliance of the arbitration tribunals of CETA. Wallonia province said it received from Canadians assurance that judges charged with settling disputes will not be selected from business environments, but elected and paid by the signatory states of the Treaty.

Paul Magnette, the craftsman of this European claim, which raises the hopes of the opponents of free trade and globalization, has positively evoked the new rule on the compliance of CETA arbitration tribunals; this was not, however, likely to convince left-wing radicals and ecologists, hostile to the CETA Treaty in principle. The tentative procedure for the signing of the Treaty by the Heads of State and European Governments, followed by the EU-Canada Summit, was pursued to allow Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to paraphrase the Treaty.

After a favorable vote in the European Parliament, the CETA Treaty could be applied in a provisional manner, pending the ratifications of the 38 national and regional parliaments of the EU, which generally takes several years. Wallonia and the Brussels region have crystallized the opposition of those opposed to free trade. In Austria, Germany or Luxembourg, the anti-CETA and anti-TTIP movements (formerly the US Free Trade Agreement) were less virulent than in Belgium. Indeed, the EU needs Canada, which is a friendly country, at least for the relocation of a part of emigrants now facing the EU. The opposition to the provisions on investorto-state relationship within the CETA is increasing on both parts of the Atlantic on behalf of civil society organizations, trade unions and even public opinions expressed in some of the EU Member States. …

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