If you think the victorious grandiloquence originating from Brussels has got anything to do with progress then think again! The controversial EU-Canada trade deal [CETA] is being considered to be a zombie agreement by the experts. The future of CETA appears to be bleak even though it still requires approval by the European Council. This deal can prove to be worse for Brussels as the regional parliaments of Belgium have plans to hobble CETA which will drive a stake in the heart of trade policies of Europe. Wolfgang Munchau, the Financial Times columnist consider the deal to be a breakthrough for CETA opponents of Belgium.
The Comprehensive Economic & Trade Agreement [CETA] which is the sister deal of TTIP between the EU and the US. The deal is more about liberalization and deregulation rather than about reduction in tariffs. This deal would hand over powers to big business pertaining to law-making. Although the EU has come up with several reforms in the corporate court system it is still pretty much in place. This offers the foreign investors the right to sue governments through a special legal process. This trade deal can prove to be toxic and is being subjected to massive protests.
3.5 million Europeans stated that they did not wish to be a part of any deal by launching a twelve month petition campaign. There are several CETA and TTIP-free local authorities all across Europe. Belgian and Wallonia regions brought the entire process to halt by preventing Belgium from signing the deal. However, the EU and the Trudeau signed the deal over the weekend.
This testament can wane the power of free market fundamentalist philosophy. This deal now permits CETA to proceed to the next stage. However, the concessions offered to Wallonia imply that CETA can prove to be a time bomb. The deal will now be presented in the EU parliament and it needs to clear in several parliaments across Europe before ratification. However, Wallonia says that they would not clear the deal in its present form. Wallonia is against the corporate court section mentioned in the deal and is demanding modifications.
Belgium has now promised to take the entire issue to the European Court of Justice where the decision about special legal system would be taken. Clearing the deal without making amendments can prove to be risky. If a ruling is made against the instruments, then there would be a need to renegotiate with several countries in addition to Canada with whom the trade deal has already been signed. This would land EU trade policies into crisis.
An emergency exemption has been promised to Wallonia for its agricultural sector and several other segments. The trade policy cannot continue in the direction it is currently moving. Several European leaders have demand a less democratic approach in preventing any disaster from occurring. A fundamentally different trade policy is being demanded. It is being demanded that the trade deals need to be subjected to human rights and environmental commitments. There is a need to carry out deeper evaluation of the contribution to the social goals such as improvement in living standards and equality for the weaker segments of the society.
There is a need to incorporate several forms of protections. There is a need to look not just in one segment but also in other factors that can sink the economy of one’s neighbor. Trade needs to promote transfer of technologies and skills rather than monopolizing. There is a need to develop urgent alternative trade policy which can put battle against climate change and human needs ahead of the dogma that bothers the global elite.