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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

Автор ACM
Wednesday, 15 February 2017
 
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 *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).

 

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

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 imag0972_400


    Scientific innovation joined to Faith for Human Rights, Eastern Partnership and fight against the Crisis, but above all, the need to overcome the "Crisis of Trust" from EU Citizens, are the main priorities for new EU Parliament's President, Polish Jerzy Buzek, that a 555-votes-strong majority of MEPs on July 14,  Strasbourg made a living symbol of the fact that, 20 years after the fall of Berlin Wall (1989 - 2009) there is no more an Eastern or Western Europe, but only one Europe, as the head of the largest group of MEPs, ChristianDemocrats/EPP, Joseph Daul, stressed after the event.

    Speaking later to a group of Strasbourg's Journalists, including "EuroFora", the new EU Parliament's President clarified his stance on concrete topical issues, as f.ex. that of Turkey's controversial EU bid, which was one of the main issues of the June 2009 Electoral campain, clearly won by his party of ChristianDemocrats/EPP :  - "At present, Turkey does not fullfil none of EU conditions", he stressed, (See infra).

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    Buzek is well known in Strasbourg and to "EuroFora" as EU Rapporteur for the Framework Program of Scientific Research and Development of Technologies. A Natural Science Professor from the Historic and Religious landmark Polish City of Częstochowa, active in the famous Solidarnosk grass-roots social movement, he served 4 years as Prime Minister (1997-2001), before being elected as MEP in 2004 and 2009, after he brillantly won the latest EU Election at the head of his party (EPP) almost doubling the number of its MEPs from 15 to 28 !

    - "Innovation" and "Energy safety", as well as fight against the "Cimat change", but also "Eastern Partnership", the "Mediterranean", "Strategic partnerships" with Russia, the USA, etc, and the search for "solutions to the Economic Crisis" that EU Citizens "expect" from us, will be his "priorities", announced from the outset the new EU Parliament's President, reminding also that the quest for "Human and Civic Rights" played an important role in his experience with the Solidarnosc grass-roots social movement in Poland's History

    But, the most important of all, is the urgent need to overcome the "Crisis of Trust" between EU Institutions and the People he stressed : - EU "Citizens often don't understand us", denounced Buzek, launcing a call to "do anything for EU Citizens to understand our work" in EU Parliament : "We (MEPs) need to make EU Citizens involved" in "what we are doing every week, in Strasbourg and Brussels", he proposed. Pointing f.ex. to the hot "Debates" with "strong arguments" exchanged between MEPs during the preparation of their Legislative Decisions, in Committees, delivering often hard struggles between initially opposed points of view, long before forging a majority at the final vote, sometimes more than a year..

    Therefore, EU Parliament will be "open to your criticism, for discussion and exchange of views", he promissed to Journalists in Strasbourg.

    In this way, Buzek, in fact, highlighted "EuroFora"s main idea, that we strongly advocate since 1997-2007, to systematicaly and actively involve EU Citizens in public debates during the decision-making process of important EU measures, which affect their lives and the society in which they live, (and not only just a few weeks each 4 or 5 Years at the eve of EU Elections)...
--------------------
    This is related also to the symbolic gift that Buzek chose to give to the out-going former EU Parliament's President, Hans Gert Poettering, (2007-2009), his collegue in the ChristianDemocrats/EPP, who brillantly won 2009 EU Elections in Germany : A genuine statute of sainte Barbara crafted in Silesia's black Coal by Polish Miners : Those simple but strong people who fought for social change against some technocrats and bureaucrats disguissed into so-called "real-socialists" of old times. (PHOTO).

    It's enough to have seen a popular open air mass, at Warsaw's center, with many thousands of people, old and young, simple workers and intellectuals mixed together, with references to Poland's history and struggles for survival and liberty, through various ages, (as fex. that organized at the eve of CoE's 2005 panEuropean Heads of State and Government for the beatification of late Pope John-Paul II), in order to understand what such symbols mean..

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    But, overcoming the "Crisis of Trust" with EU Citizens obviously implies also to rectify any errors done in the past, fex. on Turkey's controversial EU bid, with controversial decisions taken in 1999 and 2004 to give a "candidate" status and to start EU negotiations, provoking an unprecedented series of 3 "No" to EuroReferenda and 3 Majoriy Abstentions in EU Parliament Elections : 1999, 2005 and 2009, (even if the latest one succeeded to decelerate and almost stop the drop of participation rates, opening hopes for vote's revival after an electoral campaign clearly critical to Turkey's claims in several mainstream EU countries)
    
    Therefore, Buzek was faced with manifold critical Questions on EU Enlargement, most of them citting concrete examples of certain political problems  :  But his replies were almost always given as a matter of general principle :

    F.ex. Questioned on the suspension of EU - Croatia talks because of a Border conflict with EU Member Slovenia, Buzek prefered to speak about principles :

- "We know that during Enlargement, the process can be blocked by failure to resolve this kind of issues",  This concerns also other enlargments' cases", and "these rules are always in force" he warned.


But Buzek avoided to directly reply to a queston on "French and German EPP' calls to define the Borders of Europe", as a German journalist asked him by making a reference to French President Nicolas Sarkozy, and German Chancellor Angie Merkel's, critical statements on Turkey at the June 2009 Electoral campain.    

- "Concerning Enlargement, there's always the same rules : There have to be Criteria, which have to be respected if a Country wants to join the EU", he started to simply reply.

- "For my country (Poland) it took us 15 Years to fullfil these Criteria", Buzek reminded, indicating, if proportions are kept, that Turkey, fex. would have to spend some 25 years before eventually joining the EU..

- "Countries wishing to join the EU need to Change their Systems", as we (Poland and other former Eastern European Countries) did, he stressed.

- "'For me, meeting the condition of Human Rights is one of the Key conditions for membership in the EU", preferring again to speak from the point of view of General Principles, on the occasion of an untimely question on Serbia (which is not even a candidate yet)...

- "Turkey" has, "first of all", to fullfil (EU) Copenhagen criteria". Bevause, currently, none of them is fullfiled by Turkey", New EU Parliament's President, denounced, speaking later to a group of Journalists, including "EuroFora".

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In particular, on Human Rights :  - "We (EU) can never forget Human Rights", because "this is at the very Foundations of the EU", Buzek added.

On the contrary, when he referred to EU Enlargment for the  "Western Balkans Countries ", Buzek appeared upbeat, finding "promising situations", despite "difficulties" in the Past, since "Countries are queuing to become EU members", and this "generated changes", as he said.

As for Russia, Buzek observed that it was a "very important" country, located "in the same Continent", Europe,  "close to our borders", and "we need eachother". "But Russia' has 'differend poblems : "They claim that their system is Democratic, but rules are differend", and we must be "aware of such differencies", fex. "on Human Rights", that we can't ignore, as he said;

Concerning China, where a journalist observed that the recipient of EU Parliament's latest "Sakharov prize" for freedom of thought is "still in prison", Buzek found that since the 1999 events in Tien Amin square, "we see differencies on Human Rights still today", and expressed his "support" for those who try to ameliorate the situation.

On the contrary, speaking recently to "EuroFora" he strongly supported the idea for an EU - Ukraine cooperation, fex. between Airbus and Antonov, in order to build a  less costly but more performant than the old and problematic A400M, new Military Transport Airplane : - "They (Ukranian Antonov Company) can certainly do it. I'm sure they can. It's a good Idea, and I'd be glad if it was done", he told us. (See : http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/airbusantonov.html )


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