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  • Giving national parliaments a say on trade deals is ‘needed now more than ever’

    Giving national parliaments a say on the EU-Canada trade deal (CETA) greatly strengthens the legitimacy of such agreements, and there has never been a time when this was needed more, environmental NGO Transport & Environment (T&E) has said. Responding to today’s European Commission statement that CETA will be proposed as a ‘mixed’ agreement and will need to be ratified by national parliaments, T&E said the decision follows the revised negotiation mandate granted by EU member states in 2011 and numerous statements by governments including those of Germany and Austria.

    Cecile Toubeau, better trade manager at T&E, which is a member of the Commission’s TTIP advisory group, said: “We are happy to see that the Commission is listening to citizens’ concerns by giving national parliaments a say on the deal. This is the first time since the UK referendum that the Commission has acted in order to regain public trust in its trade and investment policy. Europe needs a real ‘trade for all’ strategy that first and foremost benefits people and environment, and not multinationals.”

    CETA remains controversial due to key elements included in the investment chapter. T&E and a number of organisations have criticised the Investment Court System (ICS), the shortcomings of which have inflamed the public debate for more than two years. National parliaments will now have the opportunity to evaluate the agreement, and reject it if it falls short in delivering benefits to their citizens.

    Cecile Toubeau concluded: “With regards to the European Court of Justice ruling, we firmly believe the EU-Canada deal is a mixed agreement and that national parliaments’ scrutiny of it should begin without delay.”