CETA trade deal between Canada and the European Union has largely come into
force today amid sharp criticism from Friends of the Earth Europe. The early
implementation – known as 'provisional application' – comes even though most
national parliaments have not yet begun to debate or vote on the deal. 
Friends of the
Earth Europe is calling for a major overhaul of EU trade policy to make it more
transparent and democratic, and to ensure trade deals contribute to tackling
defining challenges of our time such as rising inequalities and runaway climate
change rather than exacerbating them.
trade campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe said, "CETA
is off to a false start. Not only does the provisional application underline
its undemocratic nature but the agreement itself remains unpopular in many
countries, where parliaments are still to ratify it. We call on
parliamentarians across Europe to take their responsibility to scrutinise the
agreement seriously and reject this damaging trade deal."
The CETA trade
agreement – along with the now stalled TTIP agreement with the US – has sparked
unprecedented protest across Europe and brings with it significant risks for
European citizens in a range of areas, such as consumer protection, food and
safety standards, energy policies and climate change measures.
Exempted from the
provisional application of the agreement are highly controversial investment
tribunals. These will only become effective after ratification by all national
parliaments. The Investment Court System would allow foreign investors to sue
governments for enacting legitimate public policy.
Two weeks ago, the
Belgian government asked the European Court of Justice to
examine the compatibility of the trade agreement with the European Treaties. 
Legal experts allege that the
investment tribunal included in CETA threatens the powers of Europe's courts.
 A negative opinion from the Court would throw the entire ratification
process into doubt.
continued, "CETA is an outdated agreement that gives VIP rights to
corporations while failing to address defining challenges of our time such as
rising inequalities and runaway climate change. The controversy around CETA
should be a wake-up call to the EU to rethink its trade policy so that it
contributes to a sustainable and equitable future and puts the rights of
citizens above those of foreign investors."
 The national
ratification is outstanding in 24 out of the 28 EU member states. Only the
Latvian, Croatian, Portuguese and Danish parliaments have ratified CETA so far.