EU free-trade agreements with Canada and US: imagine the fallout if put to national referendums

Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, and several members of the EC College participated in the European Parliament plenary session and the weekly Commission meeting, which was held on 05/07/2016. From the left to the right: Kristalina Georgieva, Commissioner for Budget and Human Resources, Jean-Claude Juncker and Maros Sefcovic, Vice-President of Commission, in charge of Energy Union. Date: 05/07/2016. Location: Strasbourg – European Parliamnet.© European Union, 2016 / Photo: Jean-François Badias.

Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, and several members of the EC College participated in the European Parliament plenary session and the weekly Commission meeting, which was held on 05/07/2016. From the left to the right: Kristalina Georgieva, Commissioner for Budget and Human Resources, Jean-Claude Juncker and Maros Sefcovic, Vice-President of EU Commission, in charge of Energy Union. Date: 05/07/2016. Location: Strasbourg – European Parliamnet.© European Union, 2016 / Photo: Jean-François Badias.

When it comes to ‘selling’ its proposals to EU member states’ government and peoples, the European Commission turns the calendar some centuries back and starts painting saintly icons. The more inportant the proposal it is, the more boldly the Commission hides the real ‘catch 22s’ from citizens, under the bright colors of imaginary gains for all. It usually invokes various hollow arguments and falsly praises its own motion, as strenghtening people’s rights and protecting the envoronment. Those two points in general accompany any political platform or ideology in Europe, as the ‘politically correct’ and attractive ambalage of any possible and impossible proposition.

The EU Commission did exaclty that last Tuesday 5 July, when it presented its wishful thinking as a super incontrovertible proposal, in favour of the draft EU-Canada free trade agreement, the text of which the Brussels bureaucrats have recently concluded authoring. This is a far reaching free trade, foreign investment protection and more agreement to be signed, if ever, between the EU and Canada, briefly called Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, or CETA. A similar pact is still being inconclusively negotiated with the US.

What are the odds

For one thing, the EU Commission fears that under the currently very cloudy political and social climate in Europe, such a free trade agreement may become an ‘anathema’ for large parts of the population and the media. What is even more annoying for the Brussels bureaucracy is that, this proposal may provoke automatic and strong reactions from political parties, trade unions and civil society organizations. In short, now is not the best time to ‘sell’ a free-trade agreement of such big dimensions to European voters.

Still, the Commission works hard to promote to the best of its abilities the CETA, in these difficult times for the ‘free trade’ minded neo-liberals. To do this the EU’s executive took refuge in its old method of idyllic portrayal, coldly resorting to covering up, lying and falsly crying loudly that it protects people’s rights and the environment. Coming to think of it, this attitude is not much differnt from what most European political parties and leaders, mainstream or extremists, are doing these days.

Hiding key terms

In brief, the Commission in its ‘Fact Sheet’ published last Tuesday to inform us all about this draft trade agreement with Canada, didn’t include a single word about the special ‘court system’ the CETA institutionalizes to protect the investments of multinationals. To achieve that, the CETA excludes the investments under its umbrella from the jurisdiction of national courts and legislatives, by introducing “a new investment court system and enhanced rules on investment protection”. This is really a dream world for multinationals, having a special court system of their own to protect themselves from the will of the people and the national courts.

By the same token, the Commission tries indirectly via Canada, to revitalize the almost dead analogous agreement with the US, the infamous Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), which is being negotiated for two years now. Under the heavy fire of the public opinion and the business community, this TTIP is currently rather dead, because there is no visible end in the never ending negotiations between Washington and Brussels. The TTIP talks always stumble exactly on the same issues the CETA is now trying to introduce; the judicial impunity and the ‘liberties’ of the multinationals in the health and environment spheres. Evidently the ‘catch 22’ is hidden in the “new investment court system and the enhanced rules on investment protection”, which confers to multinationals the special status of ‘untouchables’ vis-à-vis the national courts and the legislatives.

Provoking the people

What can be more provocative for the heavily taxed, badly paid and hard working or unemployed Europeans, than a new legal system actually controlled by the multinationals, shielding their tax avoidance practices and defending their rights to pollute? That’s why the Commission erased the key phrase from the ‘Fact Sheet’ most media would use as a source, and hid it in a Press Release issued separately, in the hope that it won’t attract much attention.

Let’s see this issue from a different angle. Two weeks after the Brexit vote the analysts have agreed that the people who are making a living in medium, small and very small sized business in the English provinces plus the inward looking older voters, overcame the globally oriented Londoners and the younger generations. This is a blow to the globalization ideology and practice, inflicted by the country which spearheaded it, back in the Thatcherite era. Given that, there is currently nothing more ‘globalist’ than an EU-Canada free trade and investment agreement. The Brexit vote comes as a slam to the Commission’s efforts to ‘sell’ the CETA to the Europeans.

Think of the Brexit

Thinking of the Brexit, it is clear by now that it wasn’t Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage who created the popular impulse for the ‘leave’. Those two harlequins just rode the waves to promote themselves in the power system of their country. They both fell victims though of the ‘globalization’ masters of the London City, the strongest advocates of ‘remain’. The invisible lords of the global financial system had enough of the duo and their gross exaggerations and overt lies about the virtues of ‘leave’. The fact that Johnson and Farage both unexpectedly denied to practically and actively back the enforcement of Brexit, is very telling. Nevertheless, the global financial overlords couldn’t overturn the tide and their threats just reduced its force.

In conclusion, it will be rather impossible for the Commission to ‘sell’ the CETA and the TTIP to the Europeans in the foreseeable future. Simply imagine what the consequences would be, if those free trade agreements were put to the test of national referendums. Never forget why in relevant plebiscites the French and the Dutch said ‘no’ to the European Constitutional Treaty in 2005, amidst a very good economic conjuncture with all the political forces, the media and the international bodies strongly advocating the ‘yes’ side. Don’t bet your money, then, on the prospects of the CETA and the TTIP.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

The EU cuts roaming charges further while the UK weighs Brexit impact

Does Draghi have another ace up his sleeve given his Quantitative Easing failure?

We need a reskilling revolution. Here’s how to make it happen

8 amazing facts to help you understand China today

Is it just visa-free travel that Erdogan demands from the EU to not break the migration deal?

Can a Bavarian Oktoberfest beer indulger bring down the Berlin government?

2018 ‘terrifying’ for Yemenis but ultimately a ‘year for hope’ says UN Special Envoy

Crimea: The last bloodless secession of a Ukraine region?

EU Copyright Directive: Google News threatens to leave Europe while media startups increasingly worry

Lithuania needs to get rid of the victim mentality

A day in the life of a refugee: the wait

The cost of healthcare is rising in ASEAN. How can nations get the most for their money?

Climate change and health – can medical students be the solution?

Terrorist content online should be removed within one hour, says EP

Parliamentary bid to democratize Myanmar constitution a ‘positive development’ says UN rights expert

North Korean families facing deep ‘hunger crisis’ after worst harvest in 10 years, UN food assessment shows

What does reimagining our energy system look like?

OECD Steel Committee concerned about excess capacity in steel sector

UN chief saddened at news of death of former US President George H.W. Bush

COP21 Breaking News_04 December: Building a Sustainable Future – speech by UNEP Deputy Executive Director Ibrahim Thiaw at the LPAA Thematic Event on Buildings

Globalization 4.0 must provide for the poorest, or it risks causing chaos for everyone

We can save the Earth. Here’s how

EU job-search aid worth €9.9m for 1,858 former Air France workers

Three ways the world must tackle mental health

The banks dragged Eurozone down to fiscal abyss

Global Citizen-Volunteer Internships

It’s not kids’ screen time you should worry about – it’s yours

Israeli security forces’ response to Gaza protests ‘a recipe for more bloodshed’, says UN expert

EU budget 2019 approved: focus on the young, innovation and migration

The cost of housing is tearing our society apart

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s speech from World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting of New Champions

Japanese law professor elected new judge at the International Court of Justice

At Ministerial session, UN regional office in Beirut to focus on technology for sustainable development

It’s time to stop talking about ethics in AI and start doing it

Eurozone: Inflation plunge to 0.4% in July may trigger cataclysmic developments

Office workers in these economies clock up the most extra hours

When connectivity is not enough: the key to meaningful digital inclusion

Nearly 900 children released by north-east Nigeria armed group

From ‘dead on the inside’ to ‘truly alive’: Survivor of genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda recounts her story as UN marks 25th anniversary

Japanese banks to move their European HQ from London to Frankfurt after Brexit

Europe bows to Turkey’s rulers, sends Syrian refugees back to chaos

The Schengen area is at a crossroads

AI has huge potential – but it won’t solve all our problems

Climate change and health: an everyday solution

China-EU Relations: Broader, Higher and Stronger

Consumer product quality: Parliament takes aim at dual standards

EU-US Trade: European Commission endorses rebalancing duties on US products

Erdogan vies to become Middle East Sultan over Khashoggi’s killing

A Sting Exclusive: EU Commission’s Vice President Šefčovič accentuates the importance of innovation to EU’s Energy Union

Commission takes further action to ensure professionals can fully benefit from the Single Market

CHINA: five letters that could mean…

Who really cares for the environment?

Is a deal over EU budget possible today?

Trump asked Merkel to pay NATO arrears and cut down exports ignoring the EU

Here’s how to build energy infrastructures fit for the future

EU-China relations under investigation?

UN rights office calls for action to end ‘repression and retaliation’ in crisis-torn Nicaragua

How can we build a workforce for our digital future?

Let’s Learn

Why growth is now a one way road for Eurozone

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s