Mon. Jun 17th, 2024

EU-Canada: the French Senate votes against the CETA treaty, threatens its ratification

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar Mar22,2024

EU-Canada: the French Senate votes against the CETA treaty, threatens its ratification

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The French Senate's vote against the CETA treaty must lead to a new examination by the National Assembly, again with a serious risk of rejection. (Archive photo)

Agence France-Presse

The French Senate voted Thursday against the CETA free trade treaty between the European Union and Canada thanks to a convenient alliance of left-right oppositions, thus endangering the ratification of this agreement against a backdrop of agricultural crisis , a major shock for the French government.

In an extremely tense climate, the senators rejected the article of the bill relating to this treaty, provisionally applied since 2017 but never submitted to the Upper House. They then confirmed this rejection with a final vote.

The blow was struck at the initiative of the communist group with the support of the right, the treaty, signed in 2016 and adopted in 2017 at the European level, being much criticized in France in a climate marked by agricultural crisis and tense around European issues before the European elections in June.

It's a political thunderbolt, a democratic victory, savored communist senator Fabien Gay.

The Minister for Foreign Trade Franck Riester denounced a crude maneuver, an unacceptable manipulation with serious consequences for our country and a disastrous signal for Canada.

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It is simply a political coup that the communists, the socialists, with the support of the Republicans, are carrying out in the middle of the European election campaign to the detriment of the general interest, he added.

This rejection by the Senate is not enough in itself to denounce the agreement on a European scale, but the setbacks of the French government on this subject sensitive are far from finished.

The communist deputies announced that they would include this text in their parliamentary time reserved for the National Assembly on May 30, ten days before the European elections.

Today's vote cannot remain a dead letter, they said in a press release.

The deputies had narrowly approved the ratification of CETA in 2019, but the presidential camp lost the absolute majority at the Bourbon palace, which augurs a possible rejection of the text.

In this hypothesis, the equation would then become very complex: either the government notifies Brussels that it cannot ratify the treaty and this results in the end of its provisional application for all Europe; or he procrastinates at the risk of attracting the wrath of the opposition, who will cry out for democratic denial.

Currently, ten Member States have not completed the ratification process and only one has rejected it: Cyprus. But Nicosia never notified this rejection, which allows the agreement to continue to apply.

Another hypothesis is circulating among parliamentarians: the executive having the power to transmit a bill from one chamber to the other, it could not transmit the text to the National Assembly, which would de facto prevent its inclusion on the agenda on May 30.

The government is in all cases struggling to try to convince of the merits of this agreement which removes most of the customs duties between the EU and Canada, citing the increase in exports and the benefits for the wine or wine sectors. slag.

In an article published by the economic daily Les Échos, several employers' organizations including the most important, the MEDEF , had also praised the convincing results of the treaty in seven years of provisional application, emphasizing the figures for French exports to Canada, which jumped by 33% between 2017 and 2023.

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Several people in France were openly against free trade agreements, including the one with Canada, as in this photo which dates of 2019. (Archive photo)

However, the discontent of the agricultural world seemed more convincing in the eyes of the senatorial right, which overwhelmingly voted against the text.

The president of the National Bovine Federation (FNB), Patrick Bénézit, welcomed the rejection as good news. The senators made the right choice by rejecting a treaty which authorizes foodstuffs which do not respect our production conditions, he told AFP.

Long-time opponents of this treaty, French cattle breeders cite in particular the use of antibiotics as growth promoters, banned in the European Union.

The left-wing opposition opposed it as a whole, with the socialist group notably pinning an agreement in total contradiction with our environmental commitments according to its senator Didier Marie.

Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my 1-800-268-7116

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