Call for scrutiny to protect democracy and citizens in blue print for future world trade

In a draft resolution adopted unanimously today, the Committee on Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) reminded member States to pay very close attention to safeguarding environmental, democratic, and human rights imperatives in Europe, when drafting the “new generation trade agreements”.

According to the draft Resolution, the latest Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) between the European Union (EU) and Canada, and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the EU and the United States of America have “raised multiple concerns especially in Europe”.

The committee called for more transparent negotiations of such agreements, with public and parliamentary scrutiny. Determined to protect the interests of European citizens and promote sustainability, it stressed that the “agreements should not empower corporate trade interests to trump public policies protecting the environment, food safety, public health and social rights”.

The committee recommended in particular that the provisions on the “proposed Investment Court System, which would allow investors to sue governments in private arbitration for profits they might not make due to laws passed to protect the citizen” be removed from CETA and TTIP.

The draft resolution, based on a report by Geraint Davies (United Kingdom, SOC) is due to be debated during the 1st part of the 2017 ordinary session of the Assembly in Strasbourg, in January 2017.