Why do some people not like CETA

TTIP: CETA will no longer be changed

Some call CETA the little, bad brother of TTIP. Behind the four letters hides a trade agreement that the EU Commission has concluded with Canada. Similar to the planned European-American agreement TTIP, it is not yet in force, but it is a whole step further: the CETA text is almost ready, the lawyers are currently reading it back. Then the parliaments should give the green light.

At least that is what the EU Commission wants, and this is what Commissioner Cecilia Malmström is now confirming in writing. "The ratification process begins when the legal examination has been completed," she replied to a request from MEP Fabio De Masi (left) that ZEIT had received.

But precisely this answer is not only a problem for De Masi. CETA is now as controversial as TTIP, because this treaty will also give foreign investors the opportunity to sue European states before private arbitration tribunals. Malmström doesn't want to change that for the time being either. Only when the contract has come into force should there be a "review". Only then will it be “discussed” with Canada how the concept “can be fine-tuned in line with recent discussions in the EU”, the Commissioner writes.

De Masi sharply criticizes this strategy. "Reform of the courts will be so unrealistic". So the topic is put on the back burner. It is also hypocritical if the Commission suspends the negotiations on arbitration in the TTIP treaty because of the growing criticism - but installs the same institution in a contract with Canada.

In fact, under pressure from German Economics Minister Sigmar Gabriel, Brussels had put the tiresome issue on hold during the TTIP negotiations over the past few months. In autumn, the EU Commission wants to present a proposal on how arbitration can be fundamentally reformed. Gabriel had previously spoken out in favor of creating public courts with appeal bodies. The fact that the Commission now insists in the contract with Canada on installing the private, controversial arbitration boards in CETA is not just an affront to Gabriel. This step will not make it any easier to get parliaments to approve the treaty. But this is necessary so that the free trade agreements can come into force.