Germany Says It Won't Agree To CETA With Current Corporate Sovereignty Chapter
from the so-where-does-that-leave-TTIP? dept
This is potentially huge: according to the leading German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, Germany will not accept CETA, the Canadian-EU trade agreement, if it contains a corporate sovereignty chapter in its present form (original in German, pointed out to us by @TeraEuro):
German EU diplomats confirmed in Brussels on Friday that the [German] federal government could not sign the agreement with Canada "as it is now negotiated." Although Germany was, in principle, ready to initial the agreement in September, the chapter on the legal protection of investors is however 'problematic' and currently not acceptable.
This confirms rumors that CETA is finally completed, and that the plan is for the EU member states to "initial" it -- accept it in principle -- in September. However, if Germany really does refuse to sign up with investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) included in its current form, the pressure will be on the European Commission to take it out -- because of the nature of CETA, all 28 EU member states must approve it before it is fully ratified. However, here's what the Commission told Süddeutsche Zeitung regarding that idea:
Without these clauses, the European Commission's trade department says, a Canadian company will hardly invest in Europe. How could an investment in Bulgaria, a country which the European Commission has, so to speak, officially certified for high-level corruption, be justified without legal protection? Or in Italy, where cases before the national courts can last eight to ten years?
But according to the European Commission's own figures, bilateral investment between the EU and Canada is flourishing (pdf): in 2012, the total investment by EU companies in Canada was €258 billion, while Canadian investment in the EU was €115 billion -- 45% of the EU's, even though Canada's population is only 7% that of the EU. In other words, contrary to the European Commission's scaremongering, Canadian companies are clearly perfectly happy to invest in Europe on a massive scale even without ISDS, which is therefore unnecessary, and can be dropped from CETA.
It's therefore not clear how the European Commission will react to this development, and whether it will try to push through the current version of ISDS, attempt to modify it by re-opening negotiations with Canada, or accept that ISDS must go if it wants to save CETA. But what is not in doubt is that this has major ramifications for TAFTA/TTIP. Germany's justified concerns about corporate sovereignty in CETA apply even more strongly to the far-bigger agreement. If it wants ISDS out of one, it will certainly want it out of the other. A refusal by the US to accept that -- quite likely, given its firm support for corporate sovereignty -- would mean that TAFTA/TTIP is dead.