CETA: We are not Reassured

Paris, 21 November 2012 – While the Canadian Minister of trade is in Brussels this week to finalize CETA, and as Ministers just answered to the letter sent to the French government by La Quadrature du Net, still no evidence confirm that repressive measures were removed from the current text.

A few week after the end of the 13th round of negotiations of CETA1, Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Bernard Cazeneuve, Minister for European Affairs, responded to the letter sent to the French government by La Quadrature du Net a month ago. As usual, these replies of elected representatives on CETA are attempting to reassure citizens, arguing that the objectives of this new trade agreement and ACTA are different, but unfortunately do not provide any evidence that CETA is not harmful for our freedoms online.

In the same time, rumours suggest that the Council of the European Union currently chaired by Cyprus would have pressured the negotiators to remove ACTA-like criminal sanctions and repressive provisions for copyright (except for camcording). However, nothing can confirm these assumptions today.

The withdrawal of ACTA-like criminal sanctions from CETA would be the consequence of the fear of the Council of the EU to see this new trade agreement rejected as a whole by the European Parliament if the measure already massively refused in July were presented to the MEPs again. While this information would seem heartening, it is unfortunately impossible to verify. As the current version of CETA will be kept confidential, the only reliable evidences on which citizens can base their analysis remain the leaks of February 2012 and the statements of the European Commission of October, both confirming the presence of criminal sanctions in CETA.

Announcements of the EU Commission on ACTA has already proven that this institution does not hesitate to use of falsehood to try to impose punitive measures, and that speeches to reassure citizens are worth nothing. Only the finalized text, once the opaque negotiations will be over, will matter. If the passages including criminal sanctions and repressive provisions for copyright are actually removed from CETA, then the EU Commission should not be afraid to make it public. Instead, efforts to maintain the closed negotiations on both side of the Atlantic suggest the worst.

“Once again, the European Commission and Member States governments may be trying to impose repressive measures in a trade agreement instead of having a democratic debate on Copyright. We have no reason so far to be reassured by the European Commission and French Ministers' sweet talk” declared Jérémie Zimmermann, co-founder and spokesperson of the citizen organisation La Quadrature du Net.

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  • 1. held from 15 to 26 October at Brussels