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Guy Verhofstadt: “CETA is too important to be abandoned now”

On the latest developments in the CETA file, the leader of the Liberals and Democrats in the European Parliament, Guy Verhofstadt comments:

“It goes without saying that we still are one hundred per cent behind CETA. It is a good agreement and important for businesses, everywhere in Europe. At the same time CETA respects Europe’s social and environmental standards. It is exactly for these reasons we should not give up on it now. Negotations between the Walloon government and the European Commission should continue.

Already a lot of differences have been settled and it seems that the only outstanding problem is the status of ISDS. The current CETA agreement replaces the old ISDS system with a modern court system, which is much more transparent and effective then existing agreements in force. I am convinced that further rapprochement in this field can be made.

On a broader note: it has become abundantly clear that the requirement to ratify trade agreements by national or even regional parliaments is outdated. The EU have the full power to negotiate, sign and approve trade agreements such as CETA: the Commission negotiates based on the mandate from the Council representing the Member States. Negotiations are continuously overseen by the Council and the European Parliament. The Council decides on conclusion and signature of an agreement; the EP gives its consent.
The European Council should clarify that it fully respects this procedure. involving the 70 national and regional parliaments can never work. It turns the European Union into a liability instead of a stable, reliable trade partner.”

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