Updated: 25/10/16 : 07:28:28
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‘EU Commission did not listen on CETA’ says Harkin

“The European Commission did not listen to the significant concerns of citizens and MEPs and did not follow the lead of their own president, Jean Claude Juncker, in their negotiations on CETA (the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement)”. This was stated by Independent MEP Marian Harkin following the pending collapse of negotiations on the Canadian trade deal.

Ms Harkin said:- “Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) has become a lightning rod for opposition to CETA and TTIP (the EU-US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) over recent years. Citizens are rightly concerned that the EU would sign a trade deal that allows investors access to a special court in order to sue Member States over certain policy decisions that would negatively affect their investments. However it isn´t only citizens who are concerned.

“Referring to ISDS, President Jean Claude Juncker, in one of his first speaches to the European Parliament said ‘I wouldn´t like us to be setting up a parallel secret jurisdiction’. In another address to the Parliament he said ‘my Commission will not accept that the jurisdiction of courts in the EU Member States be limited by special regimes for investor to state disputes’.

“Only two weeks ago the Irish Seanad passed a motion to stop Ireland signing up to CETA. In July 2015 the European Parliament passed a resolution which said that any ISDS courts should respect the jurisdiction of European and national courts. Now Wallonia and therefore Belgium are refusing to agree to ISDS.

“The European Commission needs to go back to the negotiating table and hammer out a deal that does not include ISDS. I have consistently opposed the inclusion of ISDS in any trade deal, this is a crucial issue for Ireland - one of the few European countries not to have ISDS in any of its trade deals. I applaud Senator Higgins for raising the issue and getting agreement of the Seanad on this matter. We must have a full debate on ISDS so that Irish people know what our Government is signing up to,” Sligo based Marian Harkin concluded.