On 15 February the European Parliament in Strasbourg approved the free trade agreement CETA, (Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement) between the EU and Canada. The signing of this international trade agreement as a provisionary measure, constitutes a threat to European citizens, workers and consumers. To definitively enter into force it must, however, first be ratified by all regional and national parliaments of the European Union. As such, in the weeks ahead, pressure must be put on the EU so that this toxic treaty is rejected.
The threat to democracy comes in diverse forms but mainly from the controversial Investor Court System (ICS) mechanism, one which can be used by supranational corporations to bring legal action against national governments for introducing legislation that could possibly harm their investments.
In addition to the threat to national sovereignty, given that economic interests take precedence over national legislation, CETA will lead also to the weakening of the European precautionary principle and consequently the undermining of issues of health and of the environment. The precautionary principle was instituted to protect the health of citizens and of the environment in instances of scientific uncertainty. This principle does not appear in the Canadian legislation where, in effect, GMOs are abundantly used, where there are high levels of antibiotics in meat as well as high levels of pesticides. Glyphosate is a case in point – a herbicide which is widely used in Canada, also as a desiccant, which directly reaches our plates as a result of the heavy import of Canadian grain used to produce “made in Italy” pasta. Lack of a labelling process for local products is yet another hazard. CETA actually recognized little more than 170 local products, a ridiculously low number compared to the thousands of European local products.
With respect to the environment, large industrial agribusinesses will keep threatening the European food and agricultural model, particularly the Italian one, which is mainly composed of small producers, as well as food quality issues based, based not only on commercial values, but also on traditional values and the link to territories.
Given the high social and environmental costs, and costs to the security of European citizens, CETA is an unjust agreement driven by economic interests which will undermine Europe’s social achievements thus far. For these reasons we are calling for a stop to CETA, uniting in a common action to pressure the European parliament to preserve our democracy, our welfare and our health and that of the environment.
Stop Gliphosate Campaign
Free Trade agreements and Corporate Takeover of Food and Freedom
This post is also available in: Italian