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.
That’s why the European Commission decided last week to renege on a promise it had repeatedly made to Europe’s citizens that it would consult the national parliaments of all Member States before ratifying game-changing trade agreements like the EU-US trade pact, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), and the EU-Canada trade pact, CETA. When it realized that it would be impossible to guarantee the desired outcome – i.e., a unanimously supported agreement – with such an approach, the Commission changed tack, designating CETA as a unilateral EU agreement, not as a ‘mixed agreement.’
This post was published at Wolf Street by Don Quijones ‘ July 7, 2016.