CETA To Be Signed (Again) During EU-Canada Summit In Mid-October 23/09/2016 by Monika Ermert for Intellectual Property Watch 1 Comment Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)European Union trade ministers at an informal meeting in Bratislava, Slovakia today agreed on the final steps to enact CETA, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between Canada and the EU. There will be no other reopening of the text, assured EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem after the meeting. But ministers have agreed, according to Slovak Minister of Economy Peter Ziga, that some sensitive issues have to be straightened out in an additional annex to the CETA text. “The EU Commission will prepare a joint declaration on public services, investment protection, the investment protection court system and environmental standards,” Ziga, whose government has the EU presidency, said during the closing press conference. A press release is here. EU trade ministers have to ink the new annex before the EU-Canada Summit on 27 October. Then the EU Parliament has the last word before CETA can be applied provisionally, maybe as early as spring next year. The provisional implementation, criticised by opponents of the treaty, including politicians in some national governments (for example Germany and Austria), is beyond debate for Malmstroem. “Ratification in national parliaments,” she said, “can take many years.” Malmstroem only reluctantly agreed to adopt CETA as a “mixed agreement” opening it up to further scrutiny through national ratification processes. The final word of the European Court of Justice on the Commission’s interpretation that it could conclude the trade agreements without national ratification is still out (Avis 2/15). Both Ziga and Malmstroem underlined today that if the EU were unable to close a deal with Canada, the question would arise as to with whom else they could cut a modern deal. German Minister of Economy Sigmar Gabriel called CETA “a model agreement” and compared it favourably to the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) on which Malmstroem gave an update at the trade ministers meeting. The US had not been prepared to go the same way towards a balanced agreement, Gabriel said, and added, “We will have to wait and see if a relaunch of the TTIP negotiations is possible.” While other ministers including those from France and Austria also see TTIP at a halt, Malmstroem rejected that for the time being, underlining that she was prepared to continue negotiations until 19 January. Only after that date, she said, there would be a “natural pause” due to the change of US presidential administrations. The Trade Commissioner underlined that progress had been made in TTIP negotiations and that “we have to see if we can safeguard that progress.” Malmstroem also said she still saw a possibility to finalise two other big negotiations this year, the one on the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) and the Environmental Goods Agreement (EGA). Opposition Prepares for Campaigning If the schedule hammered out on CETA holds, it is dependent on how swiftly the new CETA annex can be finalised together with Canada, whose international trade minister, Chrystia Freeland, also attended the Bratislava meeting in an effort to ease next steps. Opponents in and outside of parliament still hope that the European parliament can step on the brakes. On 27 October, members of the Green, S&D and Left party groups in the Parliament are inviting for a CETA citizens summit. The German NGO Forum on Environment and Development (FUE) after today’s trade minister meeting pointed to the options under the mixed agreement procedure. “Given the current situation, it is hard to believe such a controversial agreement will make it through all 41 houses of parliament in the EU,” said Nelly Grotefendt of the FUE. Nora Holzman, spokesperson for Greenpeace Austria, said that her organisation will lobby hard for a CETA veto from Austria if the agreement is not changed with regard to public services and special investment jurisdiction. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Related Monika Ermert may be reached at email@example.com."CETA To Be Signed (Again) During EU-Canada Summit In Mid-October" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.