Bundestag must reject CETA

ÖDP does not accept parallel justice for profit

(Brussels, 29/11/2022) Are corporations allowed to sue Germany in the future because they lose profit when the state protects the population and nature? The German Bundestag will decide this Thursday (01.12.). Five years ago, the CETA free trade agreement between the EU and Canada entered into force partially and provisionally without controversial arbitration. This arbitration allows, among other things, international corporations to sue states for damages if they lose profit due to government measures. For international corporations, this is an effective lever to avoid the burden of consumer, climate, and environmental protection requirements at the expense of taxpayers.

Manuela Ripa, MEP of the Ecological Democratic Party (ÖDP), therefore calls on the Bundestag and the Bundesrat “not to give the green light for the remaining parts of CETA to enter into force. The agreement; structured as it is now, is not a fair trade agreement.” The so-called investment protection for companies and the associated arbitration tribunals that are supposed to settle disputes undermine the democratic rule of law. A parallel justice system is created, solely for the interests of international corporations. Citizens, municipalities, or trade unions, on the other hand, cannot sue if a company violates environmental, health, or other rights under CETA.

It is true that the free trade agreement with Canada is somewhat more modern than the Energy Charter Treaty in terms of investment protection and that it affirms the right to environmental policy measures. However, nothing has changed in the crucial mechanism – international corporations continue to receive special rights and can demand compensation from states that adhere to high climate protection measures before a specially established arbitration tribunal. This will not be changed by the interpretative declaration, the adoption of which the German government had made a condition of its approval of CETA ratification – a clear reason for the ÖDP to decisively reject CETA.

“If the traffic light coalition ratifies this agreement, those responsible will be breaking their oath of office which stipulates that they must prevent harm to the German people. However, CETA will make the lives of people in Europe unhealthier and more expensive. Therefore, the ÖDP calls on the federal government not to betray its population for more profit,” says Charlotte Schmid, the Federal Chairwoman of the ÖDP.