Jude Kirton Darling MEP today called for a public debate on trade deals the European Commission has been negotiating with the US and Canada. She warned that MEPs could ditch the deals if there wasn't a public debate on the impacts they could have. She demanded clear guarantees on the protection of public services such as the NHS in the UK, safeguarding of working terms and conditions and environmental standards.
Jude Kirton-Darling, Labour MEP for the North-East of England said "The European Commission can no longer afford to keep the lid on secretive trade negotiations" while speaking at a fringe event at the Congress of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) in Liverpool today (8 September).
The European Commission has been negotiating the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with Canada since May 2009, and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with the USA since June 2013. Technical negotiations on CETA concluded at technical level in August 2014. The outcome of these negotiations is expected to be submitted to the European Parliament for ratification within the coming weeks.
Jude Kirton Darling MEP said, "There is a very good reason why civil society and Trade Unions are calling for a thorough public debate on CETA and TTIP: there is so much at stake with these trade deals that Parliamentarians simply cannot settle them on their own."
"The Commission expects a swift and smooth ratification of the technical agreements it has reached with Canadian officials. We must make it very clear to negotiators that we will take all the time that is necessary to review the far reaching implications of this agreement"
"In particular, we need absolute certainty that the deal will not make our regulations and standards vulnerable to corporate interests. Socialist MEPs have been clear that there is no legitimacy for including Investor-State Dispute Settlement in these agreements. Europeans have made the choice of societies that protect them against sickness and unemployment, guarantee their rights in the workplace and provide them with a wide range of public services.These sovereign choices are not up for discussion in the frame of these trade deals."
Jude Kirton-Darling has requested from the Commission the disclosure of specific public services covered by the draft CETA agreement at a meeting of the International Trade Committee of the European Parliament.