Karlsruhe (dpa) – The German Bundestag has fulfilled its duty to cooperate with the provisional start of the controversial European-Canadian Ceta trade agreement.
The Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe on Tuesday ruled that the MPs had been dealing intensively with Ceta for a longer period and issued a substantive statement. A complaint by the left-wing parliamentary group against the Bundestag was rejected as inadmissible. (Az.2 BvE 4/16)
The much more explosive question of whether Germany with agreements such as Ceta unconstitutional surrender many powers has not yet been raised in the proceedings. Various constitutional complaints are still being processed. An alliance of the consumer organization Foodwatch and the associations Campact and Mehr Demokratie had mobilized more than 125,000 co-prosecutors. The left-wing parliamentary group has also filed a second lawsuit against the federal government. When will be decided is open.
Left-wing MP Andrej Hunko said after the verdict was announced that the main lawsuit was yet to come. His party is particularly concerned about the planned investment arbitration tribunals, for which companies could also sue states. “We don’t think that’s right at all.”
Proponents of Ceta see the advantages mainly in the removal of tariffs and trade barriers. The Parliamentary Secretary of State for the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Elisabeth Winkelmeier-Becker (CDU), said that since the provisional application of Ceta, the volume of trade between Canada and the EU has increased significantly. “Of course the Federal Republic of Germany also benefits from this.” She saw the statement as a “good signal also for the question of how Ceta should be assessed in terms of content”.
Ceta has been provisionally in effect since September 21, 2017, but only in areas where EU jurisdiction is undisputed. Previously, the Federal Constitutional Court had allowed German participation in an emergency procedure in 2016. However, the federal government had to ensure, among other things, that Germany would leave the agreement in case of doubt. A stop from Ceta is still possible.
The left-wing parliamentary group had complained that in September 2016 the Bundestag had only decided on a statement on Ceta and not on a law at the request of the CDU / CSU and SPD. That was actually a carte blanche for the federal government. However, the judges of the Second Senate had insufficient reasons for this. It was not substantiated that the rights of the parliamentary group or the German Bundestag could be violated, said Senate President and Vice-President Doris König.
SPD MP Axel Schäfer was very pleased: “We have fully fulfilled our responsibility for integration in Europe and exercised our rights politically.” CDU MP Philipp Amthor said he also saw the ruling as a decision to bolster a confident parliament in European politics.
For the agreement to be fully effective, it must be ratified by the parliaments of all EU Member States. That happened only partially. In Germany, Ceta cannot be ratified until the Federal Constitutional Court has ruled on all complaints.