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The European Parliament Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) Committee will have a crucial opportunity to ensure policy coherence between Trade and Health and will vote on about the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between the EU and Canada on 12th January. It is crucial that MEPs being responsible for Health take leadership and support the draft ENVI opinion to rejecting CETA based on public health concerns.

Background information

The draft ENVI opinion to the INTA committee on the approval of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) suggests rejecting CETA based on public health concerns – amongst other objections.

The European Public Health Alliance (EPHA) has already expressed its deep concerns regarding CETA in its latest publication ‘The Unhealthy Side Effects of CETA’ which identifies in 12 ways, supported by 6 case studies, in which CETA could undermine good health.

In a nutshell, CETA has the potential to undermine good health by opening the door for businesses to challenge public health laws, limiting policy choices for Services of General Interest (social, healthcare, education, water), promoting tobacco, alcohol and unhealthy food and ignoring the global health threat of antimicrobial resistance.

A better deal for health and consumers is still possible. EPHA therefore calls on MEPs responsible for health to address the identified health concerns during the ENVI committee vote on the draft opinion, on Thursday, 12th January.

Next Steps

Rejecting CETA is not unprecedented in the European Parliament: the Committee for Employment and Social Affairs (EMPL) has already adopted its opinion on 8th December 2016 in which it suggested denying consent to CETA. Now, it is up to the ENVI Committee to follow that progressive line and address citizens’ concerns. However, those outcomes are non-binding opinions to the leading committee on International Trade (INTA) which will vote on 24th January on its own opinion. Finally, the Plenary Session of the European Parliament will have the final word on CETA later in February.  

The booklet is available here.

Zoltán Massay-Kosubek

Policy Coordinator for Healthy Trade and Health Equity

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