Juncker: member states get no say in CETA
After losing the battle over hearts and minds in the UK, Juncker now takes on the continent:
Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker reportedly told EU leaders on Tuesday (28 June) that the Commission considers the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) being an “EU-only” agreement and would propose next week (5 July) a simple approval procedure.
CETA, of course, is the trade agreement between the EU and Canada, although to call it a "trade agreement" doesn't capture the deep economic integration and regulatory harmonization that's being pursued. The treaty is 1634 pages long and was negotiated in secret, which would seem to warrant careful scrutiny, but Juncker -- Great Democrat AND Man of Action -- doesn't think EU member states should get a say in the matter.
Not everyone agrees:
German Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU), talking to the press, said that the Commission can be overruled by the Council. “For Germany, I can say that however it ends we will ask for an opinion from the Bundestag,” she stressed, saying she favoured a mixed agreement whereby national parliaments have a say.
French President François Hollande also opposed the Commission’s proposal and said national parliaments should be allowed to spell their verdict. “I am in favour of an EU-Canada deal, but I believe it is necessary to have debates in each of the national parliaments. That will certainly take longer, but it is part of what we should provide in terms of democratic control,” he said speaking to the press at the end of the EU summit.
Will Juncker repeat the success of Brexit in Germany and France?
But wait! There's more... Flabbergasted noises also from Austria and the EU Parliament:
Österreichs Bundeskanzler Christian Kern fand ebenfalls deutliche Worte. "Juncker vertritt eine juristische Position", sagte Kern. Die Frage der Einbindung der Parlamente sei jedoch "hochgradig politisch". "Das hier in einem schnellen Ruckzuck-Verfahren durchzusetzen, kostet die Europäische Union viel an Glaubwürdigkeit."
Kritik kam auch aus dem EU-Parlament. "Die EU-Kommission hat den Schuss nicht gehört", schimpfte Reinhard Bütikofer, Chef der Europäischen Grünen. Junckers Vorhaben sei eine "frivole Anmaßung". Bütikofers Parteifreund Sven Giegold warnte: "Egotrips der EU-Kommission sind Futter für die EU-Skeptiker."
According to Juncker, the matter is a "fake debate" and barely worthy of his consideration -- after all, he's got an EU to run (into the ground):
Ob Ceta ein gemischtes oder ein EU-Abkommen ist, sei ihm persönlich "schnurzegal" - es handele sich dabei lediglich um eine juristische Frage, die zudem eine "Scheindebatte sei".
Rarely has a people been such a disappointment to their leader.