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Canadian PM Urges European Union to Approve CETA | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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The Ceta signing ceremony in Brussels last October: Canada’s prime minister Justin Trudeau (centre) with Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European commission (left), and Donald Tusk, the EU council president. Photograph: Francois Lenoir/AFP/Getty Images

Brussels – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will be joining the European Parliament in Strasbourg this week. He will deliver a formal speech to MEPs on the EU-Canada relationship on Thursday. Trudeau will be the first Canadian prime minister to address the European Parliament.

The European Parliament will debate and vote on Comprehensive and Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) between the European Union and Canada.

The deal, which has been seven years in the making and aims to boost goods and services trade and investment flows, cannot enter into force without the European Parliament’s approval.

EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström will also take part in the debate where Canada and EU will work to convince all members to vote unanimously on the treaty.

Leaders of the European Green Party sent a letter to the Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau rejecting CETA ahead of the vote in the European Parliament this week.

In its letter, the Green Party appreciated what the Canadian government has done for refugees and for the advancement of diversity and women´s rights.

“We believe we should and we can cooperate to shape globalization in a way that will eradicate poverty, solve the climate crisis, pursue innovation and inclusion and safeguard our democracies,” the letter said.

But they insisted that all of this won’t make them vote in favor of CETA.

The Green members claimed that CETA negotiation at first were not transparent.

The party added that the European Commission mandate for negotiations was published very late and only more recently did the public get a chance to be involved more deeply.

“We assume you agree that we have to balance the interest of citizens, consumers, entrepreneurs and workers. We also assume you agree that if negotiations were to start all over again, we might both contribute to a trajectory that looks more ambitiously at finding such a balance,” added the Green Party.

The party stressed that it will stick to a NO vote because they want to send a signal: more progress must be made. Yet, they ensured that they look forward for an effective team up between Canada and the EU in the future to build a free and fair multilateral global trading environment that opposes both protectionist nationalism and corporate privilege.

EU Foreign Trade Commission had voted with CETA, while the Labor committee rejected it completely. This makes the future of the treaty unclear especially after controversy rose concerning labor rights and safety measures.

EU’s Court of Justice must confirm that the treaty doesn’t violate European regulations, thus complicating constitutional measure until the treaty is actually established.

Despite protests in Brussels and other European cities, at the end of October 2016, EU and Canada signed two treaties that deal with strategic partnerships between the two parties and free trade.

EU said that CETA opens a new dimension for economic partnership, adding that the treaty will try to achieve comprehensive economic growth and creating job opportunities.

In a joint statement, Canada and EU committed to a speedy execution of CETA. The statement added this treaty will create better job opportunities.

The statement said that CETA is a historical agreement which sends a positive message about the importance of a free and progressive international trade.

European Commission said that CETA will benefit European companies by getting rid of 99% of the duties (taxes) they have to pay at Canadian customs. The same will apply to Canadian businesses exporting to the EU.