The Slow Food organisation has condemned the newly approved CETA trade agreement between the EU and Canada, which it says fails to raise environmental standards and will impact heavily on poor farming communities.
The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement was approved by the European Parliament today (15 February), despite “massive opposition from the public,” according to Slow Food.
In a statement, Slow Food said: “The mobilization against CETA has been one of the strongest European democracy movements ever seen, including the voices of 3.5 million people from all over Europe who have signed a petition against CETA and its twin agreement, the EU-US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).”
Carlo Petrini, Slow Food president, said: “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, small farming campaigner and MEP, 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.