The positive opinion issued by the European Court of Justice on the contested arbitration system of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) is not the end of the debate, according to the CNCD-11.11.11, an NGO platform that has been spearheading the contestation of CETA. “While the CETA and similar agreements are compatible with the law, they are incompatible with the principles of climate and social justice,” CNCD-11.11.11 General Secretary Arnaud Zacharie said in a press release. He noted, for example, that the Agreement allows a foreign investor to go to an arbitration tribunal and file a complaint against the State for indirect expropriation so as to contest social, environmental or health-related legislation adopted democratically and in the general interest.
Zacharie stressed, however, that CETA had clauses which deprive such courts of any competence to call into question democratically made choices by a member State in matters such as these.
The CNCD also drew attention to CETA’s long-term impact.
“The Canadian Government uses the regulatory cooperation mechanism to denounce regulations in Europe on glyphosate as trade barriers,” it said. “We can also cite the Hulot Law in France on hydrocarbons, weakened following the threat by a Canadian oil company to initiate arbitration proceedings that could cost millions.”
“Scrapping the arbitration tribunal system in the CETA would be a first step towards adopting new models of fair, sustainable trade agreements, as 550,000 European citizens are asking in a new European petition launched in January for one year,” the CNCD argued.