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Home arrow newsitems arrow EU - Canada Trade: Contradictory EU Parliament Votes on CETA, after Trump asked NAFTA Review

EU - Canada Trade: Contradictory EU Parliament Votes on CETA, after Trump asked NAFTA Review

Written by ACM
Wednesday, 15 February 2017
 
ep_votes_on_ceta_400 

 *Strasbourg/Angelo Marcopolo/- Differend Majority Votes of MEPs gave in EU Parliament here a Contradictory image on a controversial EU - Canada Trade deal (CETA), "the Most Ambitious" ever for the EU "so far", as mainstream Groups' leaders observed, shortly after New US President Don Trump confirmed his pre-electoral promisse to ask for a Review of NAFTA, a similar pre-existing US - Canada Trade deal :


It's an astonishing Fact that, even if a Legaly Binding Report, by Latvian MEP Pabrics, asking to endorse that Deal, passed by Majority, nevertheless, the only Resolution (drafted by Leaders of EPP/Liberal/Conservative Groups of MEPs) which asked to "Welcome" CETA and "a Swift Ratification" by EU's 28 Member States, on the Contrary, was clearly Rejected by EU Parliament !


Already, its Committee on Employment and Social affairs had Refused to endorse CETA, earlier in Brussels, where, on the Contrary, it had been Backed mainly by the Foreign Affairs Committee, and the Environment/Health/Food safety Committee, in a Lesser degree.


Moreover, Today, EU Parliament's Plenary also Rejected a "New ..model for ...Dispute Resolution" about Investments, (§ 7 of the Draft Resolution), which had been Accused by a relevant Amendment of the "Green" Group to allegedly : "Allow claims to be made only by foreign investors, (be) based on extremely broad foreign investor rights, and (to) abrogate from the basic international law principle of prior exhaustion of domestic legal remedies", (etc).


In Addition, the MEPs who Voted "Against" or "Abstained" on the Issue of "Privatisation of Public Services" (§ 6 in the Draft), were More Numerous, than those who Voted "For" : 355 (i.e. 334 + 21), instead of Only 338, respectively.


Similarly, More MEPs Voted "Against" or "Abstained", than supported the Claim that CETA would have "Answered" the "Questions" raised by Critics, via the "Clarifications" and/or "Interpretations" given for that purpose, (§ 8 in the Original Draft) : 376 (i.e. 304 + 72) instead of just 323, respectively. (Probably because, as EFDD Group denounced, these were "Not Legaly Binding".


It's also "Against" or "Abstention" that Voted Most MEPs, instead of "For", concerning the wish to "Welcome", or Not, CETA, based on the (strongly Contested) Claim that it would have a "Potential" for "significant Benefits to the Citizens and Companies, especially SMEs", (§ 1 of the Draft) : 362 (i.e. 248 + 114), instead of just 334, respectively.


Experienced EU Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom, even if she naturaly Supported Earlier CETA as "a Good Deal", afterwards Acknowleged that "there are Many Concerns among the People" in Europe, so that EU and Canada Officials should "show" them, with "concrete Examples", that this Free Trade Agreement would bring them Benefits. But, "at any case", the still Remaining process of "Ratification, depends from (EU) Member States", (i.e. 28 National Authorities), she observed in fine.


Malmstrom said that in a subsequent Press Conference here, After EU Parliament's Votes, together with the Canadian Government's International Trade's Minister, Francois-Philippe Champagne, where they answered a Few Questions on some among the Critical Points raised in Writting by 5 Political Groups of MEPs : from the "Left" and most "Socialists", up to the "Greens", the Euro-Sceptics of "EFDD", and the Rightists of "ENF", as well as several "Independents".


Among these Critical Issues, (in addition to those who found an Expression in the Votes : Comp. Supra), were also mainly Jobs and Social standards, Agriculture, Geneticaly Modified Organisms ("GMO"s) and "Food Safety", protection of Personal Data from "Cross-Border Flows", the "Price of Medical Drugs" (allegedly the "2nd Higher in the World" at Canada), etc. 


Such concerns brought manifold Popular Protests at EU Parliament's doorstep, and even inside its Hemicycle, while, among the Countries whose most Political Leaders reportedly appear to be Opposed or Uncertain yet about CETA, seems to be also France, which is currently engaged in Crucial Presidential and Parliamentary Elections, due to be Soon Followed by the Netherlands and Germany, later this Same Year (2017), afterwards by Austria (2018), etc., in the run up to the Next European Elections of 2019.


Meanwhile, the Canadian Minister tried to Downplay and Minimize the issue notoriously raised by the New US President Don Trump's Electoral Campaign about the equivalent preexisting "NAFTA" free trade agreement in North America, by claiming that it could likely result just in another "Review" and/or "Update", more or less similar to previous ones, that had already been made before.


In that regard, Champagne pointed at a recent Press Conference, in Washington D.C., between Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau, who is currently Visiting Strasbourg, and due to Speak Tomorrow in the Pleanry of EU Parliament here, followed by a Press Conference with its New President Tajani, who has vowed to Support the Position expressed by the Majority of MEPs, as a matter of General Principle, and whose services has just published a Press Communiqué in favor of CETA's Ratification by EU's 28 Member States, (even if, at least a Part of it, is, reportedly, due to Start being Applied from March 2017, i.e. even Before that Long process of National Ratifications).

 

(../..)


***

("Draft"News, as already send to "Eurofora" Subscrbers/Donors, earlier. A mora accurate, full Final Version, might be published asap).

***


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ECHR's President to "EuroFora" on Journalists Gongadze and Adali murders : Principles must apply to all States, without discrimination.


+ ECHR's Statistics on Freedom of Expression (See below).


 European Court of Human Rights' President, Jean-Paul Costa, questioned by "EuroFora" on Journalists' murders, as in Gongadze and Adali's cases etc., strongly stressed all CoE Member States' obligation to make efficient Investigations to find and punish those responsible, and underlined that ECHR's case-law's principles must apply to all without any discrimination.

His call was clearly supported by various Top MEPs who denounced a risk of "Double Standards" if some Journalists' murders are investigated, while others don't.

To avoid such risks, CoE's Parliamentary Assembly adopted a Resolution, on the occasion of Ukranian Journalist Gongadze's murder, "stressing", as a matter of general Principle, "the importance it attaches to the safety of Journalists and political activists, especially those linked to opposition groups, in ALL member states of the CoE". All "crimes against journalists and political activists must be investigated ... as a matter of priority, without political interference".

Costa was replying to "EuroFora"s question on the fact that, after CoE's Committee of Ministers, also CoE's Assembly had just adopted a Resolution on Gongadze murder case, based on an ECHR's judgement of 2005, asking a full Investigation from Ukraine, who has found and condemned  in 10 years of jail 2 executants, but not yet the instigators.

While nothing similar was yet done for dissident Turkish Cypriot Kutlu Adali's murder, with 5 bullets shot at his head out of his Family's home in the territories of Cyprus occupied by Ankara's army, despite another ECHR's judgement of the same year 2005, and despite Turkey's claim that nobody was found among those responsible for the murder, and that there was nothing more to do..

In order to be credible and efficient, CoE's mechanisms shouldn't find a way to at least ask for full investigations of all Journalists' murders anywhere they might be committed, without exceptions ?

adali_gongadze


- "On the larger question that you raised, I'd like to say, since we are in a period of stock-taking on ECHR's 50 Years, that the Court's case-law developed certain concepts ....such as the Positive obligations of States, part of which are also the procedural obligations", started to reply ECHR's President.

 - "Whenever Journalists, Lawyers, Defenders of Human Rights, or even simple Citizens are murdered, the States are held responsible, not only if its their own security forces' agents who committed these murders, but also if they didn't make sufficiently substantial and efficient Investigations", he stressed.

- "I want to strongly underline that we (ECHR) have found in many cases numerous violations of Articles 2 and 3 against States, ....(about) murders or torture, ...because they didn't make enough Investigations in order to try to find and punish those responsible".

- "We (ECHR) do that vis-a-vis all 47 (CoE) Member States, without any discrimination".

"Naturally, the circumstances in each particular case may be differend, and we can't ommit to apply the rules of proof, or the rules of criminal procedure".

"But we try, by all means, to apply these principles of our case-law, to all States", he concluded.

imag0335_400


      Costa's call was strongly supported by several Top CoE MEPs, from various Political areas


- "To investigate the murder of one Journalist, and not of another, looks like Double Standards", denounced the President of EuroLeft Group in CoE's Assembly, Dutch MEP Tiny Cox.  

- "What is the reason ? Politics or specificity of a case ? Of course, if Cyprus and Turkey are involved, it's always a Political case"..

- "Murders of Journalists should always be fully investigated, because killing Journalists is not only killing persons, but also killing Free Press".  "We (CoE's Assembly) should do our outmost to help People who are working on Free Press and they are under threat or murdered".

Because for Free Politics, Free Press is a pre-requisitive : Parliamentarians  cannot  function without a Free Press. Not investigating, is not protecting ourselves".

So we should investigate all Journalists' murders : We are talking about Gongadze, about the Cypriot man (Adali), about the Journalist murdered in Moscow one week ago, etc", Cox concluded

- "CoE can' look at these cases differently. CoE can't wear Blinckers  !".
- "If the one is investigated, so has to be also the other. Why there wasn't full investigation ? Why's that ?", wondered British  Socialist MEP, Alan Meale.

- "A good idea" would be to "make a Motion for Resolution", and "join all Journalists' murders. Adali and Gongadze etc", said to "EuroFora" EU Parliament Political affairs Committee's President, Goran Lindbland, ChristianDemocrat MEP from Sweden.


(See also earlier News at "EuroFora" on similar issues).
-------------------------------

ECHR's Statistics on Freedom of Expression :


    Almost Half of condemnations by ECHR for violations of Freedom of Expression in 2008, concern Turkey : 20 out of a total of 48 for all CoE's Member States.

    Russia, Poland, France and Moldova were condemned only 3 times. Romania, Greece, Portugal, 2 times, and the other CoE Member States only 1 time, or none.
--------------------
    During the last Decade : 1998 - 2008, Turkey was condemned for violating Freedom of Expression in ..169 cases, while Austria only in 24.

    France and Moldova in 14 and 13, respectively, closely followed by Russia and Poland with 11 and 10, respectively. The rest of CoE Member States had less than ten condemnations.    
    

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