On Wednesday 15th February, a majority in the European Parliament gave consent to CETA – 408 votes for, 254 votes against and 33 abstentions. As many citizens are rightfully concerned about this agreement, the claimed economic benefits – growth and jobs – do not correspond with reality. Harmonizing regulations on both sides of the Atlantic will surely trigger a dirty race to the bottom, mainly on behalf of corporate power. Despite the very strong mobilization of citizens and many critical voices coming from civil society, a majority of MEPs persist in defending unfettered liberalization, unable to regulate the excesses of globalization, to answer to rising inequalities and to climate change. While not being in favour of protectionism, MEPs of the Progressive Caucus are still convinced CETA is not the kind of agreement Europe needs. National and regional parliaments can still stop CETA. They will continue the fight in favour of a fair trade EU policy.
Yannick Jadot, Greens: “Pro-Europeans are divided on this kind of agreement and some fails to see that CETA threatens the very existence of the European project by giving more power to companies over citizens. With CETA, the majority of this Parliament is rolling out the red carpet for right-wing and anti-european parties”.
Anne-Marie Mineur, GUE/NGL: “This vote is not a surprise but a disappointment: these voices coming from different European countries should have been heard better. The voices that should be heard now are those from national and regional parliaments.
Emmanuel Maurel, S&D: “Europe deserves better than CETA. This agreement does not provide any solution to the EU’s most urgent challenges. In the 21st century, citizens expect stronger political will. Therefore, we should demonstrate to those who are convinced Europe is doing well there is an alternative to EU trade and commercial policy.”
Georgi Pirinski, S&D: ” As during discussions and vote in the Employment Committee, the key challenge is to get the debate to the core issues in CETA: for instance, jobs, wages, small and medium enterprises, the investment court system. Any other arguments are smoke screens.”