Greens have accused the Socialist and Democrats group in the European Parliament of caving in to corporate power and letting down the citizens of Europe. The accusation comes following a vote in the European Parliament in favour of the CETA trade deal between Canada and the EU. The vote saw Socialists divided on the controversial trade treaty with 97 voting in favour and 67 against.
Labour MEPs who are members of the Socialist and Democrats group, were equally split, with seven voting for the deal; 10 against and two abstaining . Divisions amongst Labour MPs were also exposed last week when CETA was voted on in the House of Commons. Despite shadow international trade secretary, Barry Gardiner, urging Labour MPs to vote against the deal, they instead voted in favour by 85 to 68.
Molly Scott Cato, Green MEP for the South West, and longtime opponent of the CETA trade deal, said:
“With trade, as with Brexit, Labour are exposing how weak they are as an opposition. The Party is hopelessly split between backing the citizens of Europe and caving in to corporate power.
“Their long-time trade coordinator in the European Parliament, David Martin, has been a forceful supporter of CETA and has strenuously opposed the Greens for their opposition to the anti-democratic aspects of this treaty. No wonder their shadow trade minister can only persuade half his MPs to vote against this dodgy deal.
“The weakness of socialists in Europe to protect citizens against the worst aspects of corporate globalisation plays straight into the hands of the extreme right and nationalist forces which are on the rise across the continent”.
CETA has long been opposed by European Greens as well as by trade justice campaigners, trade unions, and millions of citizens in the EU and Canada. Opposition has focused on the fact the treaty will allow corporations to sue governments over legislation that threatens their profits and concerns over how the deal will impact on workers’ rights, climate action, animal welfare, and chemical and product safety. Molly Scott Cato concluded:
“As Greens we don’t believe that more deregulation and more power for corporations is the way to support citizens in Europe. We believe that putting citizens first involves strong environmental, health, social, agricultural and animal welfare standards, and fighting against tax havens and climate change. This means killing off toxic trade deals like CETA. Greens will continue this fight in countries across Europe.”