European Commission president Barroso will tomorrow meet with Canadian prime minister Harper to announce the conclusion of negotiations on an EU-Canada trade agreement (CETA). The Greens have hit out at the Commission concluding this process in spite of significant opposition from EU governments, civil society and citizens, and called on EU governments to halt the process. Ahead of the meeting, Green trade spokesperson Ska Keller stated:
"It is scandalous that Commission president Barroso is seeking to bulldoze through the EU-Canada trade agreement in spite of mounting and legitimate opposition from EU governments and civil society. Announcing the conclusion is little more than a PR stunt, as the Commission does not have the go-ahead from EU governments to initial this problematic agreement. EU governments need to call Barroso out on his gung-ho approach and call a stop to this process.
"This dubious conclusion announcement also masks the fact that we are far from any agreement on the problematic inclusion of investor-state dispute settlement mechanism (ISDS) provisions. There is clearly no agreement until this is resolved. ISDS is a Trojan horse, which could be used by multinational corporations to whittle away EU standards and regulations across a range of policies from the environment to food safety to social protection. Private corporations should not be able to effect policy change through litigation. The Greens/EFA group has consistently opposed ISDS and maintained it should form no part of the EU's trade policy and agreements, and we are glad some member states are now waking up to this danger."