CETA trade pact safe in Germany for now as top court throws out case

By Rachel More and Leonie Kijewski, dpa

A bid to challenge the controversial CETA trade deal between the European Union and Canada in Germany’s Constitutional Court has proved unsuccessful – but further legal complaints are looming.

Judges in Karlsruhe declared the complaint filed by the hard-left party Die Linke “inadmissible,” stating that it failed to show how the Bundestag parliament had violated any rights in signing on to the pact.

The challenge focused on parliamentary procedure rather than the contents of the deal itself, which critics say threatens to erode environmental, consumer and employee protections.

The opposition party had accused Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative bloc and its Social Democrat coalition partners of merely adopting a position paper on CETA rather than a law.

Other constitutional complaints directly challenging the deal are outstanding, as well as another complaint against the German government lodged by Die Linke.

The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between the EU and Canada is designed to streamline the export of goods and services.

The deal is already provisionally in force, but must be ratified by all 27 member states to take full effect.

The agreement’s ratification is by no means guaranteed – and critics of the deal are not limited to Germany.

Cyprus, for example, is blocking CETA because of what the country argues is a lack of protection of Cypriot goods, such as halloumi.

Belgium’s French-speaking region of Wallonia has also been a vocal opponent of the agreement, almost spelling its end in 2016 by withholding support for the country to sign.

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