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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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    The incoming Swedish EU Presidency (July-December 2009) may still remain in favour of Turkey's controversial EU bid, despite June 2009 EU Elections' results, but it has "very strong demands on Turkey"'s obligation to respect EU Rules, said the Head of Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service, Cecilia Julin, to "EuroFora", reacting to critical Press reports.

    - "I know (that) the link is often made also to Sweden's position on Turkey"'s controversial EU bid. Indeed, "we (Swedish EU Presidency) are very much engaged in the future membership of Turkey, but not without fullfiling all the Criteria".

    - "It's very clear that we (Swedish EU Presidecny) have very Strong Demands on Turkey, in a sort of concept for Future membership of the Union, ...which will be a Long Process...", she stressed.

    This means, in particular, "the Copenhagen Criteria (on Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law), and also the adaptation to the Acquis of the European Union".

     - "If you listen to what Mr. Bildt (the Swedish Foreign Minister) says on Turkey at different occasions, it's very clear : We want Turkey to become part of the Union, in the Future. But we want it to fullfil all the Criteria : The Acquis of the European Union. That's very clear", she concluded.

    The Senior Official of the Swedish Foreign Ministry was reacting to critical Press Reports, from Brussels' Journalists invited by EU Commission's secretariat to Stockholm, who claimed that Bildt was abusing of a ..."Whip" (sic !) against Cyprus, by "threatening" the presence of UNO's Peace-keeping force at the "Green line" which separates the island's Government-controlled areas from the territories occupied by Ankara's army, if Nicosia didn't accept any political solution, regardless of Turkey's demands, before the end of 2009.

        Governing AKEL Party's new Secretary General, Andros Kyprianou, reacted by declaring that no-one can threat the People of Cyprus : -"We shall decide for our Future, and nobody else",  he reportedly said, asking to "keep calm". "In order to find a Solution soon, certain basic Principles must be respected", he stressed, calling those who feel an urgency to use their influence on Turkey. Other Political Parties were more critical.

    This was a reference to recently reported statements by Turkish Minister Bagis, Prime Minister Tayip Erdogan and Turkey's National Security Council (a Military-Political body), accused to push towards a partitionist "2 States" solution, contrary to UNO SC Resolutions for Cyprus' reunification.

    December 2009 is a crucial moment for EU's appraisal of Turkey's controversial EU bid, because EU Council has decided to review then Ankara's compliance with the European position on the recognition of Cyprus' Government, which was clearly set out by an EU reply of 21 September 2005 to Turkish Prime Minister Tayip Erdogan's claims, refusing to recognize even the existence of EU Member Cyprus, in controversial statements he made to London (former EU chair) on July 29, 2005.

    EU Parliament's latest Resolution on Turkey, adopted on March 2009 in Strasbourg, warned Ankara that "the non-fulfillment of Turkey's commitments... by December 2009, may further seriously affect the process of Negotiations" with the EU.

    In practice, the issue boils down to Ankara's "embargo" against Ships and Airplanes using Cyprus' seaports or airports at the strategic EU island, which traditionaly hosts one of the World's biggest Shipping flags. EU has already "freezed" 6 relevant Chapters in EU - Turkey Negotiations since December 2006, after Ankara refused to fullfil a commitment it had undertaken when EU had decided to open controversial "accession" negotiations with Turkey, back on December 2005.

    - "As far as EU - Turkey relations are concerned, it's clear that Turkey needs to fullfil its obligation of full, non-discriminatory implementation of the additional Protocol (to "EC-Turkey Association Agreement"),  This is an important issue....and should be addresseed as soon as possible as it clearly affects the pace of the accession negotiations.Issues covered by the Declaration of September 2005 will continue to be followed up, and progress is urgently awaited", warned earlier in Strasbourg the out-going Czech EU Presidency (former vice-Prime Minister Alexander Vodra).

    But the Head of the Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service, Cecilia Julin, dismissed "interpretations" by "some" that Foreign Minister Carl Bildt was reportedly "threatening" Cyprus with consequences on the UNFICYP, if it doesn't accept any solution until December 2009, while Turkey is reportedly delaying in an attempt to impose a partitionist "2 States" solution.

    On the contrary, Julin, stressed that "Sweden has strong demands on Turkey'"s respect of "Copenhagen Criteria and EU Acquis".

    Meanwhile, Sweden  is "concerned" about the risk of "Stalemate" in Cyprus' Talks, but is well aware that "the main responsibilities lie with the two leaders and the UNO", Europe playing only a role of "facilitator".

    After carefully verifying, the Head of Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service, stressed to "EuroFora" that Bildt's reference to UNFICYP "was not linked to a Threat", and dismissed those who "interpreted" it so.

    On the contrary, the Swedish EU Presidency acknowledged the fact that Peace Talks are mainly for the UN and the leaders of the Cypriot communities, EU's role being limited into that of a "facilitator".

    As for Turkey's reported attempts to impose a "2 States' solution", the Head of the Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service sharply replied by stressing that Turkey must respect the "EU Acquis" rules.

    In particular :

    - "Basically he (Bildt) underlined that it's the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus and the UN that have the main responsibilities for solving the problem", started to say the Swedish Senior Official to "EuroFora", referring to the above-mentioned "briefing".

    - "But the EU had a role in sort of pointing out the benefits and facilitating a little bit the outcome for the settlement of the whole Cyprus' issue", she added.

    - "And he did state the Fact, that the rest of the World (i.e. USA, etc) will, of course, look at the differend issues which are at the table, and the future of the UN Peace keeping force is part of what is at the table", she admitted.

    - "I understand that some have interpreted that as a Threat, by the Swedish Minister" "But", in reality, "it's a statement of a Fact, that, when we'll look at the differend issues, one of the issues on which we shall have to take a stand on, is the future of the UN Peace keeping force in Cyprus".

    Indeed, one of the questions usually raised for a Solution of Cyprus' issue is what International and/or European or other Guarantees, by a Peace-keeping force, might be needed afterwards, eventually for a transitory period.

    Questioned anew by "EuroFora" whether (according to critical Press Reports) this could be taken as a veiled warning that, if Cyprus didn't accept any Turkish demand for any solution whatever, it might be left alone to face Ankara's Military Invasion/Occupation, she denied :

    - "He (Bildt) didn't say it in that way"... "It was not linked to a threat, or anything like that", the Head of the Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service stressed.

    On the contrary, "he (Bildt) underlined that the main responsibility lies with the parties concerned on the island". "The EU can try to facilitate and show the benefits of reaching a settlement. But also, when the EU and the rest of the World (i.e. USA) will have to look at it, they will look at all the Facts on the table, and the presence of the UN Peace-keeping force is one".

    And "he (Bildt) didn't speak about that at all", she replied to "EuroFora" question on Turkey's reported attemps to impose, in one way of another, a partitionist "2 States solution".

    Asked whether Bildt's aim was to incite both parties to move forward efficiently, she agreed :

    - In fact, "the EU is really very concerned with the Stalemate in the situation. Yes !", the Head of Sweden's Foreign Ministry's Press Service anounced. That's why Bildt "was hoping for the two parties (i.e. for Turkey's also) to engage and break, a little-bit, the present stalemate, come to a solution of the issue" of Cyprus.

    But, replying  to a "EuroFora"s question on the risk, denounced by several politicians in case of strict Time Deadlines, for Turkey to provoke a stalemate and wait for the time to come to impose a partitionist "2 States' solution", she reacted by pointing at Turkey's obligation to respect "EU Acquis" :

    - "Turkey must fullfil the EU Acquis : That's clear !", the Swedish Senior Official stressed.

    More details are expected when Swedish Prime Minister Reinfeldt will debate his Programme with new MEPs at EU Parliament's plenary mid-July in Strasbourg, that he has visited already in 2008.

    Foreign Minister Carl Bildt became familiar with Strasbourg's CoE last year, when Sweden chaired the PanEuropean organization of Human Rights. As EU chairman-in-office, he will also chair the 27-member States strong EU Group inside the 47-member States strong CoE.

    Minister for EU affairs, Cecilia Malmstrom is well known at EU Parliament, where she has been an active MEP of the Liberal Group for many years, following also Press Freedom issues.

    Both have already made various statements at "EuroFora", on differend topical matters.

    ***

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