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Case Studies Demonstrate EU Member State Protections Threatened by CETA

WASHINGTON - A series of new case studies published today by the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) reveals that the Canada-EU trade deal (Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, or CETA) may strip EU Member States of their ability to regulate in the public interest. Using the examples of mining licensing in Greece, industrial emissions permitting, and pesticide regulations, the briefings detail how CETA’s domestic disciplines and preemption provisions threaten to limit the ability of EU Member States to protect human health and the environment from dangerous industrial processes and toxic chemicals.

Because the European Commission, Council of Ministers, and European Parliament have approved CETA, large portions have provisionally came into force. EU national parliaments must also ratify CETA, however, before it can take full effect. If they fail to do so, the deal is off.

“These briefings aim to equip EU Member States with a more complete understanding of what powers and jurisdiction they could be giving up if they decide to ratify CETA,” says Layla Hughes, Senior Attorney at CIEL. “Under the guise of lowering trade barriers, this deal would lower pesticide regulations to the lowest common denominator, and it would protect corporate profits over all else, including public health and the environment. If Member States are serious about their duties to serve the public interest, they should reject CETA.”

Little discussed and particularly dangerous are CETA’s domestic disciplines, which provide new ways to pressure governments into granting extraction and pollution permits and new legal avenues to challenge them when they are denied.

The case studies provide evidence that CETA would allow Canada and Canadian corporations to challenge licensing procedures that involve any degree of discretion or evolving environmental protection standards, undermine the EU’s precautionary approach, and likely impose serious obstacles on government efforts to protect people and the environment from activities that threaten the integrity of both.

Access the four case studies here.

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Since 1989, the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) has worked to strengthen and use international law and institutions to protect the environment, promote human health, and ensure a just and sustainable society.

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