BRUSSELS, 11:15 a.m. (5:15 a.m. ET) — Council of Canadians trade campaigner Stuart Trew and I are at the Brussels airport now boarding for the 25 minute flight to Amsterdam and then on to Toronto and Montreal-Ottawa respectively.
We are both feeling very positive about our intervention against the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement negotiations this week.
We have established good working relationships with a growing number of European civil society allies, met with numerous Members of the European Parliament and staff from different political parties who are open to working with us, our protest in front of the European Commission headquarters garnered some national media attention back home, we deepened our understanding of the implications of this proposed deal, strengthened our partnership with Trade Justice Network allies, and have much more now to think about in terms of the most strategic next steps in this campaign.
Also, we will be watching for the decision expected today by the European Council on two critical elements of the European Commission’s negotiating mandate on CETA. This relates to whether or not they will accept Canada’s demand for the negative list approach (all services included unless specifically exempted) and on inclusion of an investor-state provision (similar to Chapter 11 in NAFTA). It is expected that the European Council will accept both demands. For more on this see the January 29 blog, ‘NEWS: Canada-EU talks facing delays’.
AMSTERDAM, 1 p.m. (7 a.m. ET) — Our flights for Canada are departing soon from Schiphol airport and I’ll be off-line until about 6 p.m. ET or so this evening. As we depart Europe, our thoughts turn toward building a large demonstration in Ottawa during the ‘offers’ round of CETA talks on April 11-15, a major cross-country Council of Canadians-CUPE speaking tour on this issue this spring, and Maude Barlow addressing the 28 EU ambassadors to Canada (27 countries plus the European Union itself) on May 18 in Ottawa, and much more.
Brent Patterson, Director of Campaigns and Communications, Council of Canadians