The mother of all ironies.
Today’s generation of trade agreements seek to transfer key decision making powers and sovereignty from the traditional repositories of democracy, national parliaments, to the C-suites of the world’s biggest corporations.
In the mother of all ironies, to do that, they need national governments to sign along the dotted line, effectively voting themselves out of any meaningful existence. Although granting corporations full sovereignty rights – including the right to sue any government that threatens their ability to earn profits at literally any social, human or environmental cost – is explicitly endorsed by many national governments (including the U.S., the UK, Canada and Spain, to mention a few), not everyone is on board.
And as Britain’s vote to exit the EU just showed, democracy is a process that can be carefully managed; it can even be stage-managed, but it cannot be completely controlled. Which is why it’s so strange that the Juncker Commission decided this week to grant Europe’s national parliaments the power to decide whether the EU should ratify the deeply controversial Canada-EU trade agreement, CETA. But once you read the fine-print, it all makes perfect sense…
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