MEPs approve Canada trade deal amid protest

Antonio TAJANI - EP President in the plenary session Week 7 2017 in Strasbourg
Antonio TAJANI - EP President in the plenary session Week 7 2017 in Strasbourg

MEPs approved the EU-Canada trade deal on Wednesday (15 February), paving the way for provisional application of the accord to start as early as next month.

The European Parliament voted 408 in favour, 254 against, and 33 abstaining for the Ceta deal after an emotional debate in the plenary, during which opponents of the deal accused its supporters of putting multinational corporations’ interests ahead of EU citizens, while those backing the deal charged critics of isolationism and populism.

The vote took place amid loud “Stop Ceta” chants from the chamber’s galleries, as some MEPs opposing the deal joined in.

Several hundred demonstrators also protested against the deal in front of the parliament’s Strasbourg building, in the presence of heavy security.

In the heated debate MEP Artis Pabriks, rapporteur for Ceta, argued that the deal represents a choice between protectionism and openness, and represent a “golden standard” for world trade.

He admitted that the deal, which removes 98 percent of tariffs between Canada and the EU and is estimated to save €500 million for European exporters annually, is not a cure for all the problems of workers and small and medium-sized businesses. But it is not meant to do that…

Read more : EUObserver, 15.02.2017