CETA signed by EU parliament condemned by Slow Food

 BRUSSELS -- Despite wide-spread disapproval from the public, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement was passed by the European parliament on Wednesday.

 A broad civil society coalition from in both Europe and Canada called for the deal to be rejected. A petition, signed by over 3.5 million people from all over Europe, is one of the strongest single popular movements in European democracy in recent memory.

 Carlo Petrini, the head of Slow Food, a global organization that advocates for healthy and ethically sourced food that included over a million activists from chefs to farmers and academics in its ranks, had the following to say on the issue: “International free trade agreements are pointless if they fail to raise (environmental and social) production standards to protect the interests of the small producers. This isn’t the case with CETA and it wasn’t the case with TTIP or TPP either. Nor will it be the case with other similar treaties in the future. Signing them means waiving the regulatory and policy function that should be the prerogative of governments, thereby privatizing the decision-making processes too. To get a clearer idea of what’s involved: in Europe today there are about 1,300 food products with geographical indication, 2,800 wines and 330 spirits. As it is framed today, CETA would protect 173 of them.”

 José Bové, Member of the European Parliament, went further: “The Free-Trade Agreement with Canada will have a very hard impact on European and Canadian peasants, particularly in difficult rural areas such as mountain regions. I am afraid that some quality food products will be heavily penalized by a false protection of PDOs. Large companies and multinationals are the winners of this deal today. This vote is a failure, but the battle continues because CETA must now be ratified by the 28 member states. The struggle at the European level must be multiplied in each individual country. I am convinced that halting all bilateral negotiations and reviving multilateral negotiations that take social and environmental rights into account, especially on the issue of the climate, is extremely urgent.”

 Following the signing of the law Slow Food called on all EU member states to consult civil society and listen to the voices of all those whose livelihoods would be threatened, and consider the threat to our democracy itself. Per their statement: “It is unacceptable for democratically-elected governments to sign away their powers in favour of free trade agreements which reduce the rights and protections afforded to us both as citizens and as workers. People before profit!”