Press Release 15.03.2022

German Federal Constitutional Court ruling on CETA: CETA committees must be democratically tied back to federal governments

  • Free trade agreements

The German Federal Constitutional Court today announced its ruling on several constitutional complaints against the EU-Canada trade agreement CETA, including a citizens' complaint initiated by the European consumer organisation foodwatch together with the Non-Profit organisations "Mehr Demokratie" and "Campact". CETA is constitutional in its provisional application, ruled the Federal Constitutional Court. However, the so-called Joint CETA Committee may not decide without Federal Government and Bundestag – a success of the constitutional complaint. 

"The court ensures that decisions of the CETA committees must be democratically tied back to the federal government. This clarification would not have happened without our constitutional complaint," said Suzy Sumner of foodwatch International. “Whether CETA is constitutional remains open after today's decision. Additionally, the court has made no statement on the arbitration courts, because they are not yet applied. foodwatch reserves the right to file a renewed constitutional complaint against CETA and the arbitration courts.”

foodwatch, in alliance with Campact and Mehr Demokratie, wants above all to prevent CETA from creating a new and democratically insufficient decision-making level that influences the everyday lives of citizens in Europe. In the summer of 2016, foodwatch, Mehr Demokratie and Campact, together with 125,000 citizens, had initiated a constitutional complaint. The starting point was the committees which were provided for in CETA. In the view of the complainants, these committees would weaken the influence of national parliaments, which would therefore also make the votes of citizens less valuable. The alliance also criticises the arbitration tribunals provided for in CETA, which have not yet been activated, as a parallel justice that restricts the state's freedom of action and favours corporations. In addition, it says, the precautionary principle, which plays a pivotal role in health and consumer protection in the EU, is at risk.