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

Featured Stings

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

Russia and the West to partition Ukraine?

India is building a high-tech sustainable city from scratch

Italy’s rescue operation Mare Nostrum shuts down with no real replacement. EU’s Triton instead might put lives at risk

Court of Auditors: EU spending infested with errors well above the materiality threshold of 2%

Further reforms can foster more inclusive labour markets in The Netherlands

Amsterdam is developing a fleet of autonomous boats to reduce city traffic

European Youth Forum welcomes adoption of Sustainable Development Goals and calls on European countries to not ignore them!

Europe should make voice ‘more heard’ in today’s ‘dangerous world,’ says UN chief

If we can build the International Space Station, ‘we can do anything’ – UN Champion for Space

Draghi cuts the Gordian knot of the Banking Union

Social inclusion: how much should young people hope from the EU? 

Bias in AI is a real problem. Here’s what we should do about it

Cutting money transfer fees could unlock $15bn for developing countries. Here’s how

The EU banking union needs a third pillar guaranteeing deposits

The Eurogroup offered a cold reception to IMF’s director for Europe

Bankers don’t go to jail because they are more equal than us all

Drone regulation is necessary to democratize the sky for humanity

Parliament demands ban on neo-fascist and neo-Nazi groups in the EU

Inflation down to 0.7%, unemployment up at 12.2%: Bad omens for Eurozone

EU Commission accuses Germany of obstructing growth and the banking union

2019 EU Budget: Commission proposes a budget focused on continuity and delivery – for growth, solidarity, security

EU Commission closer to imposing anti-dumping duties on Chinese solar panel imports?

The dangers of data: why the numbers never tell the full story

Sustainability is now mission critical for businesses. Here’s why

Professional practices of primary health care for Brazilian health and gender inequality

This woman solved one of the biggest problems facing green energy

Access to healthcare: what do we lack?

A Sting Exclusive: “Climate Change needs to be demystified”, Anneli Jättenmäki Vice President of European Parliament underscores from Brussels

Why the World Cup is a bit like international trade

Water supply a human right but Greeks to lose their functioning utilities

Eurozone close to agreeing on a Banking Union

The 27 EU leaders did nothing to help May unlock the Brexit talks

Mandela, ‘true symbol of human greatness’, celebrated on centenary of his birth

Britain, EU take edgy steps to unlock Brexit talks as the war of words rages

VW emissions scandal: EU unable to protect its consumers against large multinationals

A Sting Exclusive: “Climate change-the biggest global health threat of the 21st century, yet overlooked in climate negotiations?” IFMSA wonders from COP21 in Paris

It’s Brexit again: Nigel Farage launches a personal campaign to lead the ‘No’ front

Viktor Orbán, Hungarian Prime Minister, at a 2015 event in Brussels, Berlaymont. (Copyright: European Union , 2015; Source: EC - Audiovisual Service; Photo: Lieven Creemers)

Hungary and Ireland build front to say no to EU tax harmonisation plan

Eurozone: Economic Sentiment Indicator recovering losses

The increasing drug prices in Europe

A new crop of EU ‘Boards’ override the democratic accountability and undermine the EU project

Parliament approves €500 million for schooling of refugee children in Turkey

A neo-liberal toll free Paradise for the super rich and tax hell for wage earners

Is this the way to finally beat corruption?

All sides in Yemen conflict could be guilty of war crimes, UN experts find

EU leaders slammed on anti-tax evasion inaction and expensive energy

Commerce is on the cusp of radical change. Is your organization ready?

China and China-EU Relations in the New Era

The EU Commission by serving the banks offers poor support to European mainstream political parties

Is the ECB enforcing the will of the big Eurozone member states on the small? Can the euro area live with that?

90% of plastic polluting our oceans comes from just 10 rivers

5 technologies that will forever change global trade

UN envoy says he ‘is ready to go to Idlib’ to help ensure civilian safety amid rising fears of government offensive

To Brexit, or not to Brexit…rather not: 10 Downing Street, London

G20 LIVE: “International communities and leaders have great expectations for 2016 G20 summit in Hangzhou China”, Mr Wang Xiaolong, the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s special envoy stresses live from G20 in Antalya Turkey

Eurozone’s credibility rock solid

The two big uncertainties shaping our future

The Future of Balkans: Embracing Education

One year on: EU-Canada trade agreement delivers positive results

Why Eurozone needs a bit more inflation

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