In a big blow to the people and the planet, the European Parliament’s Environmental Committee (officially: the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee or “ENVI”) voted to give their consent to CETA this morning. From the 68 committee members, 40 voted in favour of the EU-Canada trade deal and 24 against. While this is only one of the many committees in the European Parliament, it is the second largest and offers a foreshadowing as to how the main plenary vote might play out on February 14.
A worrying conclusion from this vote is that it comes from a committee that should to be the most cautious and diligent of them all. In the end, what is more important than the health and safety of the citizens they represent? Members of ENVI are responsible for protecting us against toxic chemicals, hormone-ridden beef, hidden GMOs and all of the other harmful substances entering the market. When ENVI fails to do its job, EU citizens are fully exposed to the cheapest and dirtiest production methods around.
Through “regulatory cooperation” and investor privileges, CETA is an all-out assault on many of the EU’s protective measures including REACH, the Precautionary Principle and the Paris Agreement. Experts and civil societies have highlighted the threats time and time again, but certain Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) seem to stubbornly ignore them. By consenting to CETA, these MEPs are favouring corporate interests over EU citizens and the environment.
This vote also shows us that many MEPs (mainly from the “grand coalition”) have still not learned from Brexit. One would think that EU institutions would, now more than ever, step lightly and listen to the millions of citizens concerned about secret trade deals like CETA, TTIP and TiSA. Unfortunately the ENVI Committee has shown us that they intend to carry on, full steam ahead with the neoliberal trade policies that have generated inequality by trampling over so many people in the past. If the EU project intends to continue, it must halt these unpopular and undemocratic trade deals.
It is important to remember that this is not over yet. CETA must still get over the hurdle of the plenary vote scheduled for mid-February. You can still convince your representatives to stop CETA before the final vote. That is why we must contact our MEPs today and tell them how we feel about this trade deal. Nothing is more convincing than a phone call or a visit from a constituent!
You can find all contact info for your MEP along with a phone call guide on the CETA Check. If your MEP voted in favour of CETA this morning (you can find the results here), give them a call and tell them what you think. They answer to you, not corporations and foreign governments.