EPSU update on CETA 17 November 2016

(Brussels, 17 November 2016) The EPSU Executive Committee meeting on 8-9 November endorsed further lobbying to oppose ratification of the CETA agreement. Below you will find some information on latest developments and a number of requests for your intervention.

European Parliament (EP) draft motion on CETA
Below you will find a draft motion for a EP Resolution seeking an Opinion from the European Court of Justice (CJEU) on CETA’s compatibility with the European Union (EU) Treaties. You can also find the motion (in all languages) on http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//TEXT+MOTION+B8-2016-1220+0+DOC+XML+V0//EN
The motion has so far been signed by 89 MEPs from 5 groups. Today (17 November) the Conference of Presidents (which consists of the President of Parliament and the chairs of the political groups) will decide when the motion can be tabled for a vote in plenary. The date for the plenary vote will be: 23 November.
We ask you to  lobby for support for the motion – see the attached note explaining why such a motion is necessary and should be supported by all the main political groups.

Below you can find a model letter from the ETUC to contact with MEPs.

Interpretative instrument on CETA and declarations
You may also like to know that Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) has also updated its ‘The Great CETA swindle’ analysis to include analysis of the Interpretative Instrument etc.
You can find CEO update here: https://corporateeurope.org/sites/default/files/attachments/great-ceta-swindle.pdf

EP trade (INTA) Committee
In terms of the calendar, it is not clear whether the current timetable will be maintained.
There will be an extraordinary INTA Committee meeting in Strasbourg, most likely on 28 November, to discuss legal questions on CETA.
The vote on CETA in INTA is still scheduled for 5 December, and the vote in plenary on 14 February, but may be delayed. 

We are currently finalizing (and will translate) a joint statement with other trade union and civil society organisations to support affiliates with lobbying efforts in the run up to the vote. We will send you this next week.

New publications
CETA - European Public Health Alliance (EPHA) position on CETA, explaining the risks to public health.  The position is accompanied with more detailed annexes and summaries in English, French and Hungarian.
http://epha.org/how-ceta-could-undermine-public-health/

TiSA - For your information, the ITUC has just released a new report on TISA http://www.ituc-csi.org/tisa-trade-in-services-agreement
This is available also in FR, DE & ES.

Model letter from ETUC:

Dear Member of the European Parliament,

I am addressing you to ask you to support the initiative taken by many MEPs to refer the Investment Court system (ICS) of CETA to the European Court of Justice. The ETUC strongly believes that an opinion of the ECJ on ICS in CETA is needed even before the ratification process starts as it is in the interest of European citizens, workers and indeed, institutions to make sure that ICS is compatible with European law. We think that it is the responsibility of the European parliamentarians to make sure that this mechanism is legally sound and not just rely to the opinion of the European Commission, only the European judges can have a final word on this.  

The ETUC has a number of concerns with ICS, while we acknowledge the fact that ICS addresses some of the flaws in ISDS, we think that it would create a parallel legal system which is not necessary in the context of CETA, Canada and the EU all have advanced democratic and independent domestic legal systems. It also provides a special court for foreign investors to claim their rights that is not available to workers.

With CETA, the EU would introduce for the first time ever the investment court system in an EU trade deal. The Commission has made clear that it would include such a mechanism in many other trade agreements now under negotiation. Therefore, it is important that the ECJ could check ICS in detail before the consent procedure of the European Parliament.

Sincerely Yours,

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Background information on why MEPs should vote on 23 November to refer CETA to the CJEU

What’s the issue?

  • Law professors, legal experts and the European and German Association of Judges believe that the Investment Court System in CETA is not legal under EU law.
  • if the motion on 23 November is not supported,  the EP risks ratifying an agreement that is illegal. It would also neglect its duty to ensure that the European Treaties are upheld.
  • Apparently there is strong pressure on S&D MEPs from the S&D leaders to withdraw their signature from the motion/not vote in favour of it.
  • There was a decision made by the Conference of Presidents that there will be no debate on the motion, not allowing the proponents to argue their case in front of their colleagues.
  • All MEPS have a responsibility to uphold the rule of law in the EU.  If there are doubts about the legality of CETA, then this must be checked with the CJEU

Resources

See also the Trade section on the EPSU website for further information about CETA and on the different actions taken by EPSU affiliates and Cicil Society

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