Controversial EU-Canada trade deal hangs by a thread

Brussels – The ratification of CETA, a controversial EU-Canada trade deal, has been thrown into disarray after EU heads of state and government could not agree to endorse it at a summit in Brussels.

Commenting on the ongoing disagreements over CETA, Greenpeace EU trade policy adviser Shira Stanton said: “Approving CETA would be like buying a house that is leaning dangerously. It’s full of cracks and a fresh lick of paint won’t fix the foundation. Opposition to CETA is mounting on both sides of the Atlantic as people realise that their health, their rights and environmental protection are at stake. It’s time for our governments to reject CETA and rebuild a fairer trade policy that puts people and planet ahead of corporate greed.”

The EU summit did not resolve Belgium’s concerns over CETA. Two of its regional parliaments are opposing CETA because of provisions allowing multinationals to sue states via special investment tribunals, and because it is a danger to public services. CETA has come under fire from NGOs and trade unions in Europe and Canada for being a threat for health and environmental protection, and social rights.

Even if EU governments can agree to CETA, the deal would only provisionally come into force after the approval of the European Parliament – a vote is scheduled for late 2016 or early 2017. However, ministers are expected to exclude a controversial investment protection system – known as ICS – from provisional application. ICS could nonetheless come into force after ratification by national and regional EU parliaments.

Despite these continued uncertainties, the EU and Canada are still determined to hold a summit in Brussels on 27 October, where they hope to formally sign CETA.


Shira Stanton – Greenpeace EU trade policy adviser: +32 (0)477 790 415,

Greenpeace EU press desk: +32 (0)2 274 1911,

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