The British parliament was marginalised in the CETA review process before going to the European Parliament. In September 2016, the European Scrutiny Commission recommended a swift debate on CETA in the House of Commons to address the unprecedented public interest in ceta and other next-generation trade agreements and the complex legal and political issues they have raised for the UK. The House of Commons` European Control Committee granted the government a waiver that allowed it to sign CETA in the EU`s Council of Ministers, but on condition that an urgent debate take place in the UK parliament. (This derogation did not extend to the provisional application or provisional conclusion of CETA). The Committee requested that the discussion take place before provisional implementation. However, after apparently accepting this condition, the UK Government authorised provisional implementation without debate or parliamentary scrutiny. In addition, CETA negotiators have accepted industry calls for liberalisation (opening up markets) and privatisation of public services such as the NHS through « stalled » and « ratchet » mechanisms. These are aimed at setting the terms of the agreement and only allow for further liberalisation and prohibit any reversal, even if previous decisions have proved to be failures. This could threaten the growing trend to restore public control of utilities (e.g.B. water services in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden and Hungary; energy networks in Germany and Finland; and transport services in Britain and France) in response to the poor performance of private companies. Even if public services were excluded from the agreement, they would not be immune to ICS unless they were clearly excluded from the investment chapter of the treaty. Last year, I saw first-hand the New Zealand Parliament managing the review of trade agreements to ensure they secure the country`s economy and protect important public services.
What lessons and assurances does my friend on the right draw from the experience of the New Zealand Parliament in revising trade agreements and ensuring that they bring their promised benefits? Even if utilities were excluded from the agreement, they would not be immune to ICS, making regulations in the utilities sector vulnerable to the influence of all types of private investors. The Minister of Foreign Affairs has publicly stated that he supports CETA as a model for future trade agreements – an agreement that prevents future governments from addressing the failure of the privatization agenda, both in our health services and in our transportation services. Does he agree that trade agreements should not limit future policy decisions? Indeed, ratification by all EU Member States is a prerequisite for the full entry into force of the Treaty. This will allow Canadian and European companies to ensure that the agreement continues in the future. This debacle also raises questions about a final process of ratifying other treaties in the UK when they arrive in Parliament. It seems that the process is deeply rooted. It seems, for example, that a debate is not self-evident and that, even in the event of a vote, the British Parliament does not have the possibility to veto a decisive agreement if this is done against the will of the current government (see our page on TTIP for more details). Contrary to expectations, when presenting the Treaty to the European Council, the European Commission proposed that CETA be a « mixed » agreement, i.e.
it addresses both non-trade and trade issues and therefore contains provisions that go beyond the « competence » or scope of the EU`s competences and require EU Member States, that they are parties to the Treaty. . . .