BREAKING: Commission Fails to Rush CETA Through

Having announced its intention to try to approve The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement – CETA – with Canada today, 5th July, the Commission has back tracked. Approval will now be sought from Member States’ national parliaments, though there are still caveats and concerns for campaigners.

Signature handover ECI "Stop TTIP" in Brussels, 3.263.920 people say "No" to TTIP & CETA! (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Former ARC2020 Campaigner Stephanie Roth at the Signature handover ECI “Stop TTIP” in Brussels, 3.263.920 people say “No” to TTIP & CETA! (CC BY-SA 2.0) Photos by Alex GD / Collectif Krasnyi

Yesterday, the Financial Times broke a story which stated: “Jean-Claude Juncker, the European Commission president, is preparing to ditch contentious plans to fast-track approval of a trade deal with Canada, in an eleventh-hour political retreat that followed staunch criticism from some European capitals.”

This occurs just as the European Commission formally proposed to the Council of the EU the signature and conclusion of a free trade agreement between the EU and Canada.

At a press conference today (Tuesday 5th July) Trade Commissioner Malmstrom claims that the agreement is – legally – single competency. Crucially, she also stated that it is now going to also be ratified by individual Member States:

“The Commission considers this agreement legally as an EU only agreement but we are proposing it as EU mixed… final approval will need ratification in national parliaments.”

However she added, live at the event: “If Member State ministers can sign it, and it is passed by European Parliament, it enters into force provisionally. And the court on Singapore  will give us guidance.”

This latter point is in reference to the European Court of Justice’s deliberations on the Singapore Agreement: in other words, pending this court decision, the process may revert to single competency, i.e. an EU only decision.

Another concern for campaigners is provisional approval. In a press statement today, the Commission maintains:

“after receiving the green light from the Council and the consent of the European Parliament it will be possible to provisionally apply the agreement…” while it also pushes for a quick signing: “the Commission makes its contribution for the deal to be signed during the next EU-Canada Summit, in October.”

However there is no guarantee as to how long the process of gaining approval in 27/28 Member States may take.

As we reported on 30th June, there has been much opposition to this fast track plan: many national governments, opposition parties, and civil society organisations within member states of the EU are furious that CETA would not go through the process of national parliament approval.

250 MEPs signed this latter opposing the Commission’s plans. It also reiterates “the position taken by a majority of national parliamentary chambers in the EU in 2014 that CETA should be of a mixed EU and Member States competence. The letter also asks the Commission and the Council to desist from provisional application of all parts of CETA for which there could be any doubt regarding the legal status.”

Oliver Moore
About Oliver Moore 185 Articles
DR. Oliver Moore is the communications director and editor-in-chief with ARC2020. He has a PhD in the sociology of farming and food, where he specialised in organics and direct sales. He is published in the International Journal of Consumer Studies, International Journal of Agricultural Resources, Governance and Ecology and the Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development. A weekly columnist and contributor with Irish Examiner, he is a regular on Countrywide (Irish farm radio show on the national broadcaster RTE 1) and engages in other communications work around agri-food and rural issues, such as with the soil, permaculture, climate change adaptation and citizen science initiative Grow Observatory . He lectures part time in the Centre for Co-operative Studies UCC                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Oliver voyage beaucoup moins qu’auparavant, pour ce qui concerne son activité professionnelle. Il peut néanmoins admirer par la fenêtre de son bureau les mésanges charbonnières et les corbeaux perchés au sommet du saule dans le jardin de sa maison au cœur de l’écovillage de Cloughjordan, en Irlande. L’écovillage est un site de 67 acres dans le nord du Tipperary. Il comprend d’espaces boisés, des paysages comestibles, des lieux de vie, d’habitation et de travail, ainsi qu’une ferme appartenant à la communauté. Les jours où il travaille dans le bureau du centre d’entreprise communautaire, il profite d’une vue sur les chevaux, les panneaux solaires, les toilettes sèches et les jardins familiaux.  Ce bureau au sein de l’écovillage constitue en effet un tiers-lieu de travail accueillant également des collaborateurs des associations Cultivate et Ecolise, ainsi qu’un laboratoire de fabrication (« fab lab »).  Oliver est membre du conseil d’administration de la ferme communautaire (pour la seconde fois !) et donne également des cours sur le Master en coopératives, agroalimentaire et développement durable à l’University College Cork. Il a une formation en sociologie rurale : son doctorat et les articles qu’il publie dans des journaux scientifiques portent sur ce domaine au sens large. Il consacre la majorité de son temps de travail à l’ARC 2020. Il collabore avec ARC depuis 2013, date à laquelle l’Irlande a assuré la présidence de l’UE pendant six mois. C’est là qu’il a pu constater l’importance de la politique agroalimentaire et rurale grâce à sa chronique hebdomadaire sur le site d’ARC. Après six mois, il est nommé rédacteur en chef et responsable de la communication, poste qu’il occupe toujours aujourd’hui. Oliver supervise le contenu du site web et des médias sociaux, aide à définir l’orientation de l’organisation et parfois même rédige un article pour le site web.  À l’époque où on voyageait davantage, il a eu la chance de passer du temps sous les tropiques, où il a aidé des ONG irlandaises de commerce équitable – au Ghana, au Kenya, au Mali, en Inde et au Salvador – à raconter leur histoire.  Il se peut que ces jours-là reviennent. Pour son compte Oliver continuera de préférer naviguer en Europe par bateau, puis en train. Après tout, la France n’est qu’à une nuit de navigation. En attendant, il y a toujours de nombreuses possibilités de bénévolat dans la communauté dans les campagnes du centre de l’Irlande.