Ceta: The Ratification of the Controversial EU-Canada Agreement Voted in the Assembly

Finance General News
Demonstration against Ceta in Paris, July 16, 2019.

The French deputies approved Tuesday 23rd July 2019 the ratification of the free trade agreement between the EU and Canada (Ceta), with a record of disputes within LREM.

Despite a record number of protests in the LREM majority group, the ratification of the controversial Free Trade Agreement between the EU and Canada (Ceta) was approved Tuesday 23rd July 2019 in the National Assembly by 266 votes to 213 and 74 abstentions.

The majority of MEPs voted for, but 52 “marchers” abstained and 9 voted against the text. The whole of the left has voted against. Most of the LR and UDI-Independents opposed the text, which must now be submitted to the Senate on an undetermined date.

A text had never generated so many challenges within the presidential majority. The ballot on the “anti-collector” bill in early February had led to fifty abstentions, but no elected LREM voted against it.

On the side of MoDem, partner of En Marche, 32 deputies validated the ratification of Ceta but 6 abstained and 2 voted against.

Partly and provisionally in force almost two years ago, the CETA – CETA – removes tariffs on 98% of goods traded between the two zones. It is strongly criticized by farmers and NGOs.

His examination at the Palais Bourbon last Wednesday had given rise to about 10 hours of intense exchanges, late into the night.

On Monday, the former minister of ecological transition Nicholas Hulot had called in an open letter published on Franceinfo parliamentarians to have “the courage to say no” to this treaty, which in his view could open the door to substances dangerous by lowering health standards.

“In a good way”, according to Emmanuel Macron

A ratification would go “in the good sense”, had responded Emmanuel Macron, while reaffirming the need to ensure that it is “well implemented”. The head of state stressed that the former minister had “fought to improve” the text of the agreement.

Negotiated for more than seven years, CETA – the CETA – was approved by the European Parliament in February 2017 . It must be ratified by the 38 national and regional assemblies of Europe, from where it passes through the Assembly, then to the Senate at a date to be defined. Thirteen states, including Spain and the United Kingdom, have already ratified it.

While Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian praised an “important agreement” in a “worrying” world climate, the Socialists defended a motion for rejection, rejected by only 136 votes to 110. The LR then argued unsuccessfully for an “adjournment” of ratification (134 votes to 116).

Initially, the text had to be submitted to a “simple” vote in the wake of the debates. But after opposition protests, it will finally be a public vote on Tuesday afternoon after questions to the government.

Ceta and Greta at the same time

On the agenda, this vote will take place during a hearty day in the Assembly, also marked by the visit of the Swedish figure of the fight against climate change Greta Thunberg , which is not welcome in the eyes of some deputies LR and RN.

The young Swede Greta Thunberg received in the National Assembly on July 23, 2019 in Paris
The young Swede Greta Thunberg received in the National Assembly on July 23, 2019 in Paris. (© AFP / Lionel BONAVENTURE)

“We can not at the same time bring the Joan of Arc climate, as some would like to caricature in the National Assembly, and vote the free trade treaty with Canada that will accelerate the flow of super-tankers around the world and that will increase pollution, “said MEP Jordan Bardella.

For Julien Aubert (LR), who also taxes the 16-year-old girl as a “prophetess in shorts”, “buying meat from the other side of the world that you can produce yourself” is “An ecological mistake”.

Several opposition politicians also worried about the importation of meat fed by animal meal prohibited in France.

“Fake news,” retorts the chairman of the Economic Affairs Committee Roland Lescure (LREM), noting that only 36 Canadian farms can export to European standards.

“We will never compromise on the health and quality of food,” insisted Secretary of State Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne.


IDUs and independents, “overwhelmingly against”, referred to “real threats”, and “Libertés et Territoires” referred to the “excess agreement”.

PS, PCF and LFI criticized in unison a text “incompatible with the Paris agreements” and with a “veto” climate “not found”.

This treaty “negotiated in the shadows” would allow “possibly industrialists, large Canadian powerful groups, to come challenge what we voted here,” denounces the first secretary of PS Olivier Faure. “The precautionary principle is broken in the breach,” lamented Hubert Wulfranc (PCF), when the insubordinate Mathilde Panot denounces “the end of our popular sovereignty, the capitulation of political power.”

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