Chairman Speech

EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement - Conclusion of the EU-Canada CETA - EU-Canada Strategic Partnership Agreement

15.02.2017 - 09:45

Dear President, dear Commissioner, dear colleagues! Already in the first few minutes, we can feel what is at stake today. It is about the discussion between feelings, stirring up fears, and facts. Later, we will listen to our colleague Marine Le Pen -

(interjections)

Everyone can give their opinion here and everyone can listen, right?

Later, when our colleague Marine Le Pen rises to speak, she will stir up fear of trade. She will say that she rejects Canada. She will say that she rejects Australia. She will say that she rejects New Zealand. She wants to induce the total foreclosure of France and she is scaring people - farmers, employees, as we have already seen. My opinion on this is that these models have already existed. In Europe, there were already countries that totally encapsulated Albania, for example, under the control of a dictator who built borders. Le Pen wants to turn France into a big Albania that isn’t directed towards the future but that wants to cut itself off.

We, the EPP Group, believe in facts and figures. And when we look at South Korea, the last agreement we concluded 5 years ago - dear colleague Le Pen and other colleagues - has increased exports by 55%, €17 billion more has been exported, it created 14,000 new jobs. Overall, 30 million jobs in Europe depend on export. These are facts. Of course, you can contrast it with emotions. We, the EPP, still believe in facts.

I thank Commissioner Malmström for her committed work. It’s a fantastic agreement that you have submitted to us today. Thanks to the civic participation, the consumer protection organisations and the trade unions, we have received and managed to refute concerns. Moreover, I must say clearly: with whom should we hold talks if we can’t even conduct negotiations and conclude them accordingly with Canada, a highly-developed, democratic, cooperative country?

Dear colleagues! Unfortunately, I must be a little bit party political in this debate, because of course, we need to know who leads this Parliament and who is leading us towards the future of this continent. And Gianni, I must unfortunately state that the social democratic group is deeply divided. The social democratic group can’t give any guidance on how Europe will go forward. One half is for CETA, the other one is against CETA. And the Greens must have asked themselves the critical question of whether they are in good company when they are campaigning against CETA simultaneously with Le Pen and the Communists. You must be allowed to ask this question. I think that the Greens and the consumer protection organisations have held many important debates, but now they should also acknowledge that we are on a good path and that the agreement is a good agreement.

Two short points at the end: one is the decision-making process. I think that we must note when we think of CETA that in the future, we need clear competences in Europe. The discussion about Wallonia - as the EPP Group, we respect every parliament in Europe, and federalism and regionalism are important to us. However, in the future, we need competences which are evident in order for people to know that in future, when Europe discusses free trade, the European Parliament must be the place where the final and sole vote on CETA takes place.

Finally: the big situation that we have is Donald Trump. And Donald Trump has withdrawn from the TPP. He wants to build walls. And as Europeans, we want to clarify today with this vote that we don’t want to build walls, but that we want to build bridges, we want partnership. And that’s why my political group will vote for CETA.

(Translation from the original German)

Latest

Brexit
28.04.2017 - 13:32

Brexit: EU leaders must show unity and clarity

Ahead of the European Council meeting on 29 April which will focus on the Council’s political guidelines for Brexit negotiations, Manfred Weber...
EU steps up the fight to combat child sexual abuse and exploitation
28.04.2017 - 09:15

EU steps up the fight to combat child sexual abuse and exploitation

Child sexual abuse is a major problem that the EU is working hard to eradicate. In 2011, the EU stepped up the fight with new legislation obliging EU...
Speed limit sign chaos
27.04.2017 - 11:56

EU needs a budgetary cycle that matches its objectives

Five-year budget cycle could be solution “The European Union’s seven-year budgetary cycle, which is not synchronised with the...
EU values at stake in debates on Turkey and Hungary
26.04.2017 - 19:30

EU values at stake in debates on Turkey and Hungary

In European Parliament debates on Turkey’s disputed referendum and on Hungary’s policies, MEPs discussed how to press both governments to...

Highlights of the week

01.05.2017 - 06.05.2017
Smiling business partners with electronic tablet

Reduced VAT for e-books

The Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee will vote on a Report on Wednesday by Tom Vandenkendelaere MEP giving Member States the option to apply...
Photo of smartphone with application icons

Setting up standards for jobs created by online apps like Uber and Airbnb

The Internal Market Committee will vote on Wednesday on a Report on the future of new services, like for instance Uber and Airbnb, in the so-called...
European Parliament Open Day

Parliament opens its doors in Brussels

Every year, the European Parliament celebrates the anniversary of the Schuman Declaration by inviting people to visit its premises in Strasbourg and...