News 18.03.2022

Judgement: CETA must be democratically tied back

  • Free trade agreements

The German Federal Constitutional Court has declared the provisional application of the EU-Canada trade agreement CETA to be constitutional. But an important success of the foodwatch constitutional complaint: Decisions of the CETA committees must be democratically legitimised.

In summer 2016, foodwatch, the two Non-Profit organisations "Mehr Demokratie" and "Campact", together with 125,000 citizens, initiated a constitutional complaint against the CETA trade agreement between the EU and Canada. The criticism: CETA may create a new and democratically insufficiently legitimised decision-making level. The agreement has been provisionally applied in parts since it was ratified by the European Parliament in 2017. Germany has yet to officially sign the agreement. Now the Federal Constitutional Court has allowed this provisional application as constitutional. However, there are some important restrictions:

Suzy Sumner, Head of the Brussels Office
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.
Suzy Sumner foodwatch International

Furthermore, the Constitutional Court emphasised that the German representative in the EU Council of Ministers has a right of veto. Whether CETA is constitutional to its full extent remains an open question. The arbitration tribunals, for example, in which companies could sue states, were not part of the ruling, as they are not yet applied. Another lawsuit is possible if the law approving CETA is proposed in Germany:

We reserve the right to file a renewed constitutional complaint against CETA and the arbitration courts.
Suzy Sumner foodwatch International