Free trade agreement even if it violates EU treaty?

In its 23 November session, the European Parliament voted on a motion submitted by 89 MEPs in order to turn to the European Court of Justice regarding the EU-Canada free trade agreement's (CETA) compliance with EU Treaties. They specifically wished to elicit the court's position on the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) process. This procedure enables global corporations to sue member states in an arbitration court if they feel that the state-imposed restrictions of their activities cause a loss of profit for them. They can do so, even though such restrictions may have environmental, public health or other social-economic reasons, and sovereign governments only act upon the mandate given by their citizens. However, the agreement still enables corporations to sue and the arbitration courts often judge in favour of investors, who thus receive significant sums.

Astoundingly enough, the European Parliament rejected the motion with 419 NAYs against 258 YEAs and 22 abstentions. Thus the true intentions of those voting against the motion have been revealed: they are willing to promote the interests of global economic players even if the international agreement may be in violation of the EU Treaties. It comes as no surprise that the representatives of the Democratic Coalition were among them but one may find it intriguing why Fidesz MEPs, who otherwise consider themselves as the champions of national sovereignty, voted against requesting a position statement from the European Court of Justice.

 

Zoltán Balczó, head of Jobbik's EP delegation