According to Jean-Claude Juncker, the President of the
Politburo European Commission, EU apparatchiks neither want nor need the approval of member states when concluding trade deals.
Many thanks to JLH for translating this article from Der Tagesspiegel. The translator includes this note:
The tension between the system and its members appears in this business-as-usual glimpse into who does what in the EU. Again, I am reminded of the old Brit comedy series Yes, Minister, chronicling the clash of bureaucrat and politician.
The translated article:
TTIP Model at EU Summit:
Merkel Pressures Juncker in the CETA Decision
The free trade agreement with Canada (CETA) will not be decided by the national parliaments when it comes to the EU Commission. Jean-Claude Juncker shared this information at the Brussels summit meeting.
June 28, 2016
Photo caption: Angela Merkel, Tuesday evening at the summit in Brussels
“Are there calls from all sides for more democracy and transparency after the British departure? Hardly. This looks more like fear. Fear, not only of their own citizens, but now apparently of the national parliaments which could bring about the downfall of the agreement.“
— comment in spreeathen
Shortly after the Brexit referendum, the EU Commission took an extremely controversial decision. The will of Brussels authorities is that the parliaments of the European states are to have no part in the decision about the negotiated free trade agreement with Canada. Jean-Claude Juncker, EU Commission chair, shared this information at the 28-state Brussels summit, as the Deutsche Presse Agency (dpa) learned.
Chancellor Angela Merkel, however, intends to draw the Bundestag into the European-Canadian deliberations on CETA. “We will ask the Bundestag for its opinion,” she said Tuesday evening in Brussels. There were good reasons for the national parliaments to be involved [she said], the Commission had just given its legal opinion first. That was no reason to “pillory them.”
Juncker admitted that the national parliaments must also be drawn into the evaluation. A majority of member nations were of this opinion. As to the TTIP free trade agreement with the USA, no one had objections to the Commission continuing negotiations with Washington. Merkel also said there was a clear brief for further negotiations. The British decision for Brexit changed nothing.
Several EU states, including Germany, had spoken out against classifying CETA as a pure EU agreement and treating it according to the normal EU legislative procedures. This would lead to the EU parliament’s participation in the ratification, and national parliaments like the Bundestag would not be able to vote on it.
Because of a critical public, this participation was considered in Berlin to be indispensable. In Brussels, however, there had long been the concern that parliaments of individual states could block the development of European trade policy and thus make Europe inept in trade. In normal EU legislative procedure, the member states in the European council and the European parliament vote on the suggestions of the Commission.
The EU States Can Still Resist
The notion that only national parliaments grant democratic control weakens the basic idea of the EU, said Juncker. In the case of CETA, [he believes] this the best trade agreement that Europe has ever concluded.
So the future of the already negotiated agreement is open. The EU states could decide unanimously that they will not follow the Commission’s opinion. It is conceivable that execution of the agreement could be blocked indefinitely.
CETA is considered a blueprint for the huge TTIP agreement with the USA. Both agreements should provide for more growth in trade with North America. People and groups protective of the environment and consumers fear a decline in standards.
|1.||Spree-Athen = “Athens on the Spree” is a longstanding nickname for Berlin. There are a few correspondingly named online sites, but I cannot identify the specific one.