During the G20 meeting in Hamburg, Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker announced that CETA, the free-trade agreement between the European Union and Canada, would be applied provisionally from September 21 this year.
The deal was approved in February by the European Parliament, despite widespread public opposition. Mobilization against CETA has proven to be one of Europe’s strongest democratic movements of the last few years. This recent news will only serve to increase discontent and general concern, particularly given that the provisional application will in reality mean that the majority of the agreement will come into force.
Mobilization at a national level will continue, as CETA will only be fully applied once it has been ratified by all member states. To date, only four countries have approved the treaty (Latvia, Denmark, Spain and Croatia), while in other member states opposition continues to be strong. Last week in Italy, for example, a coalition of farmers, trade unions, environmental groups and civil society organizations once again took to the streets of Rome to demonstrate against the treaty, which will be damaging to agriculture and quality food production, will weaken labor rights and will open the way to the import of banned chemicals and polluting fuels, undermining social progress and environmental standards.
Slow Food asks that the European Union and its member states open a consultation with civil society working to protect democracy, taking into account the interests of citizens who risk being sidelined by this and similar trade deals. It is unacceptable that in making these free-trade agreements Europe should ignore the protections to which we should have a right, as workers, producers and consumers.