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    A placard reading STOP TTIP CETA is seen outside the EU Council headquarters ahead of a European Union leaders summit in Brussels, Belgium October 20, 2016.

    EU Struggles to Push Through Controversial Canada Trade Deal

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    The EU's attempt to push through a free-trade pact with Canada was dealt another blow on Thursday, as members of the European Parliament called for talks to be canceled. Some MEPs fear the CETA talks are a Trojan horse, which will dilute safety and environmental regulations to benefit large multinational companies.

    Critics of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) have warned that the EU is facing its "moment of truth". The trade deal has been painstakingly slow, with negotiations starting more than seven years ago.

    Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed his impatience earlier this month, when he questioned, if Europe is unable to sign a "progressive trade deal with a country like Canada, then who does Europe think it can do business with in the years to come."

    Therefore, the already much beleaguered trade deal is being seen as a key test of the bloc's future economic viability.

    In a revolt against some elements of globalization across Europe, critics of CETA say they fear that the pact would water down European environmental and health standards. European farmers, who currently rely on EU subsidies, would also face increased competition from Canadian farmers who's goods would become cheaper, due to the removal of EU tariffs placed on them.

    CETA has already suffered from Wallonia, a regional parliament in Belgium, vetoing it. And on Thursday, a group of MEPs in the European Parliament held a protest in Brussels called "The Citizens' CETA Summit".

    Greens/EFA is a political group in the European Parliament containing green, regionalist and nationalist political parties. French MEP Yannick Jadot, German MEP Ska Keller and co-presidents Rebecca Harms and Philippe Lamberts have written to the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk to demand he suspend the decision making process for CETA.

    Greens/EFA trade spokesperson Yannick Jadot told Sputnik:

    "The EU-wide civic opposition to CETA has paid off: the decision making process on CETA must now be suspended. Thanks to citizen mobilization, the critical work on CETA, and the involvement of Green and Progressive MEPs, trade ministers have been prevented from pushing ahead with a deal that would serve only the narrowest possible economic interests, while putting our public services and environment at risk.

    "Setting up parallel courts for the exclusive benefit of multinational investors (ICS) has no place in an international trade agreement. In the meantime, it is urgent to consult with the Court of Justice of the European Union to verify that CETA is compatible with EU treaties, especially the chapter on ICS. We remain mobilized in the European Parliament, and at all levels, to block CETA."

    German MEP Ska Keller added:

    "We have to urgently rethink our approach to international trade agreements: the real test of a deal should be whether it improves workers' rights, protects the environment, and enables the transition to a more sustainable and equal economy."

    CETA is due to be signed on October 27, but requires unanimous agreement of all 28 EU member states.

    Related:

    European Council President Fears CETA to Be EU's Last Free Trade Deal
    Brussels Regional Parliament Likely to Follow Wallonia's Case, Reject CETA
    'CETA is a TTIP in Disguise': Why Canada-EU Deal Will Negatively Affect Brussels
    EU's Hopes of Meeting CETA Deadline Fading as Member States Dig in Heels
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    trade deal, The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), TTIP, UK Green Party, Brussels, Europe
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