Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B8-0145/2017

Texts tabled :


Debates :

PV 15/02/2017 - 4
CRE 15/02/2017 - 4

Votes :

PV 15/02/2017 - 7.2

Texts adopted :

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to wind up the debate on the statement by the Commission

pursuant to Rule 123(2) of the Rules of Procedure

on the conclusion of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada, of the one part, and the European Union and its Member States, of the other part  (2017/2525(RSP))

Tiziana Beghin, William (The Earl of) Dartmouth, David Borrelli, Marco Valli, Ignazio Corrao, Fabio Massimo Castaldo, Laura Agea, Marco Zullo, Dario Tamburrano, Piernicola Pedicini, Rosa D’Amato, Isabella Adinolfi, Eleonora Evi, Daniela Aiuto, Laura Ferrara on behalf of the EFDD Group

European Parliament resolution on the conclusion of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada, of the one part, and the European Union and its Member States, of the other part  (2017/2525(RSP))  

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its resolution of 10 December 2013 containing the European Parliament’s recommendation to the Council, the Commission and the European External Action Service on the negotiations for an EU-Canada Strategic Partnership Agreement(1),

–  having regard to its resolution of 8 June 2011 on EU-Canada trade relations(2),

–  having regard to the report ‘A Critical Assessment of the Proposed Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement Between the European Union and Canada - A joint position of the European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU) and the Canadian Union of Public Employees, the National Union of Public and General Employees and the Public Service Alliance of Canada’, of January 2010,

–  having regard to the EPSU working paper ‘CETA and TTIP — Potential impacts on health and social services’, by Thomas Fritz, of April 2015,

–  having regard to the Statement from the European Association of Judges (EAJ) on the Proposal from the European Commission on a new Investment Court System’, of February 2015,

–  having regard to the position paper by the European Public Health Alliance (EPHA), ‘How CETA could Undermine Public Health’, of October 2016,

–  having regard to the request for consent submitted by the Council regarding the conclusion of the CETA between Canada, of the one part, and the European Union and its Member States, of the other part,

–  having regard to Rule 123(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas the ratification procedure in Parliament should be suspended until important legal questions on CETA and its investment chapter are clarified;

B.  whereas the conclusion of CETA appears to be incompatible with the EU goals in terms of environmental protection, the precautionary principle, social cohesion, decent work, defence of civil liberties, in particular with regard to data protection, access to health services, cultural policies and cultural diversity, food security, animal welfare and the safeguarding of family and small-scale agriculture;

C.  whereas uncertainty persists regarding the compatibility of CETA with the European Treaties;

D.  whereas the standards in the area of agri-food are widely divergent between the EU and Canada, and a lowering of standards is against European acquis;

E.  whereas the easing of regulatory burdens should always be carefully weighed against the interests of consumers’ right to information about the products they purchase and citizens’ right to a legally secure society;

F.  whereas both Article 1 and Article 10(3) of the Treaty on European Union stipulate that ‘decisions shall be taken as openly and as closely as possible to the citizen’;

G.  whereas the lack of full access to key negotiation documents for parliamentarians at different levels of governance on both sides of the Atlantic, as well as for civil society, the press, researchers and citizens has led to deficiencies in terms of democratic participation;

H.  whereas 87 % of SMEs in the EU rely on domestic demand and are not directly involved in international trade and markets; whereas EU SMEs priority remains the further development of local, regional and the European common market before access to Canadian markets;

I.  whereas the welfare generation of CETA is mostly the result of trade diversion, not of increased trade;

J.  whereas CETA does not have an SME chapter;

K.  whereas an institutionalised regulatory cooperation as currently proposed by the Commission prejudices the legislative prerogatives of the European Parliament as well as of national parliaments, therefore having a chilling effect on the application of the values of the Union as laid out in Article 2 TEU;

L.  whereas it is difficult to assess the real impact of CETA on both the EU and Canadian economies while studies show contradictory results; whereas CETA will not resolve long-standing structural economic problems or their underlying causes in the EU;

1.  Declines its consent to the conclusion of CETA;

2.  Notes that CETA will negatively affect access to medicines, especially for Canadians, who are already confronted with the second highest prices for medicines in the world;

3.  Requests the complete exclusion of the United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS) from all CETA provisions;

4.  Notes that CETA has the potential to undermine the quality standards and the affordability of Services of General Interest (SGEI);

5.  Rejects any further openings for educational services with mixed funding, including in the field of pre-school and higher education; rejects, therefore, negative lists in the liberalisation of services permitting ratchet clauses and standstill clause provisions to be included in CETA;

6.  Considers that CETA is undermining the protection of the personal data of EU citizens through the commitments that have been entered into concerning cross-border data flows;

7.  Asks the Commission to guarantee that the sustainable development chapter aims at the full and effective ratification, implementation and enforcement of the eight fundamental International Labour Organisation (ILO) conventions and their contents, the ILO’s Decent Work Agenda and the core international environmental agreements; considers that provisions must be aimed at further improving levels of protection of labour and environmental standards;

8.  Recalls that labour and environmental standards are not limited to the trade and sustainable development chapter, but are also included in other areas of the agreement;

9.  Call for an effective monitoring process, involving social partners and civil society representatives when implementing CETA labour provisions;

10.  Points out that enhanced investment competition between EU-based and Canadian banks and other financial service providers makes the financial systems in both Canada and the EU more interconnected and vulnerable to external shocks and contagion;

11.  Asks the Commission to reopen negotiations within CETA, creating a specific chapter on SMEs based on the joint commitment of both negotiating parties, and aiming at creating new opportunities in Canada for European SMEs, while keeping in mind that fewer than 1 % of European SMEs export to Canada;

12.  Recalls that during the public consultation on investment protection systems 97 % of the respondents gave negative replies, confirming one of the major problems with adjudication according to which only the claimant investor and respondent national government of the country are allowed standing; rejects the inclusion of the Investment Court System, which allows claims to be made only by foreign investors, giving priority to private international firms over domestic public interest; regrets the fact that the commercial interests of the multinational companies backed up by an arbitration system, will prevail, while the human aspect and patients’ rights are neglected;

13.  Reaffirms that Canada and the EU have full functioning and accessible judicial remedies, which make any form of arbitration unnecessary and highly disputable;

14.  Notes that arbitrators will paid on an hourly basis, creating an incentive to protract litigation, at a significant cost to taxpayers;

15.  Acknowledges, furthermore, that 80 % of American companies have a significant stake in a Canadian company and notes that this agreement will grant them the opportunity to file lawsuits against the governments of its member states at taxpayers’ expense;

16.  Regrets use of the vague term ‘fair and equitable treatment’ in CETA due to many investment arbitration cases on this issue;

17.  Rejects the threats posed by CETA to public policy measures in the public health sector, and refuses the right of foreign investors to challenge those measures under the foreign investment provisions;

18.  Notes that CETA would allow transnational investor companies to sue EU Member States for laws they pass which affect investor profits, including those designed to protect public health, the environment or workers’ rights; notes, furthermore, that a UN Independent Expert has declared CETA to be incompatible with the rule of law, democracy, and human rights and has stated that trade agreements should only be ratified after human rights, health and environmental impact assessments have been conducted, which has not been the case with regard to CETA;

19.  Notes that ICS would allow for ‘treaty shopping’, allowing investors to pick and choose the agreement under which they want to file an ISDS claim;

20.  Notes that the fact that the European Court of Justice has not been asked for a legal opinion on the validity of an ICS system in the form of a multilateral investment court is in compliance with the EU treaties;

21.  Recalls that the right to regulate of both parties is being made subject to the provisions of CETA, thus diminishing the regulatory space for the national authorities;

22.  Requests guarantees that CETA include an ambitious, balanced and modern chapter on intellectual property rights, including recognition, enhanced protection and modification of geographical indications, without impeding the EU’s need to reform its copyright system;

23.  Reaffirms that by liberalising agricultural markets, CETA risks weakening food safety standards; deplores, accordingly, that CETA lacks any specific language about ‘animal welfare’;

24.  Calls on the Commission to:

●  firmly commit to the strict maintenance of current and future standards on food safety and human and plant health, crop and environmental protection, and consumer protection as defined under EU legislation;

●  ensure that the current CETA cooperation mechanism on the revision and harmonisation of GMO rules would not lower current EU standards;

●  ensure that fundamental EU values, such as the precautionary principle and sustainable farming, are not undermined in future as well as the freedom of citizens to be informed about what they are buying in EU markets through proper EU traceability and labelling rules;

●  guarantee respect for and insistence on the inclusion of European consumer protection, animal welfare and environmental protection standards and minimum social standards on agricultural products imported into the EU;

25.  Rejects the fact that public water operators are not clearly excluded from CETA’s provisions, creating a situation where governmental policies in this area to protect access to clean and safe drinking water could face a claim under the investment chapter in the name of ‘barriers to trade’, validating a precedent for all policies in the public sector;

26.  Notes furthermore that CETA does not provide a clear and detailed definition of public services;

27.  Notes that the parties to CETA have issued 38 declarations, statements and other documents as such, for clarificatory and interpretative purposes; notes furthermore that the majority of these statements have an unilateral character which means they have little legal value and cannot be considered binding in terms of the interpretation of the text;

28.  Is of the opinion that the Commission should focus on agreements and treaties that defend human rights and sustainable development rather than the current trade policy which is only beneficial for transnational corporations;

29.  Calls on the Commission to retain the objectives of developing renewable energy sources and energy efficiency in the context of increasing energy security; emphasises that the chapter concerned must integrate clear guarantees that the EU’s environmental standards and climate action goals must not be undermined and that the EU must retain the freedom to act independently in setting future standards and goals;

30.  Calls on the Commission, therefore, to include a bilateral safeguard clause to provide energy‑intensive and carbon-leakage sectors in the EU, including the chemicals, raw materials and steel industries, with appropriate measures to maintain the current customs tariff rates over an adequate, fixed transition period after the entry into force of CETA with a mandatory review clause;

31.  Notes that CETA would encourage the financial industry to take greater risks—by engaging in speculative investment—in order to survive in a more competitive international market;

32.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and to the Government and Parliament of Canada.


OJ C 468, 15.12.2016, p. 2.


OJ C 380E, 11.12.2012, p. 20.

Last updated: 13 February 2017Legal notice