For the protection of rights and for democracy, let us say NO to CETA!

Joint statement of the Italian Communist Party and Popular Front


The Italian Communist Party and Popular Front consider the rejection by the Parliament of the Republic of Cyprus of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), the free trade treaty between the European Union and Canada, as a positive fact of extraordinary importance.

The strategy of signing free trade agreements between the EU and many of its counterparts fully expresses the willingness of the European ruling classes to increase their influence on international markets. This is in line with a market-driven and hyper-competitive logic that poses a threat to the interests of the popular classes of both the 27 Member States and the counterparts of these bilateral agreements.

The EU’s free trade agreements are inspired by the principles of downward competition on production costs and prices and are therefore a serious threat to jobs and working conditions, to the rights of women and workers and to the quality standards of products that are placed on European markets, starting with food. By circumventing the principles laid down in European and national legislation on environmental sustainability, the use of pesticides and chemicals in general and GMOs, these agreements pose a threat both ecologically and in terms of public health protection.

By establishing the model of private arbitration for dispute resolution, they undermine the monopoly of legislative assemblies in the production of law and lay the foundations for its factual privatization through the development of arbitration case law. This in itself already constitutes a further serious drain on the institutions that underpin the exercise of the sovereignty of nations and peoples, confirming the anti-democratic, technocratic and oligarchic nature of the mechanisms that govern the life of the EU.

CETA entered into provisional application on 21 September 2017 and is therefore already taking effect, pending ratification by the parliaments of the 27 member States. Since then, European foreign ministers have agreed to establish a new procedure for ratifying the free trade treaties that cuts off national parliaments and thus inflicts a severe blow to democratic control over our economies, environmental protection and health. We take this opportunity to once again strongly denounce this further attack on democracy in the name of “European construction”, which has already taken place, for example, when the JEFTA agreement between the EU and Japan was finalised.

By pronouncing against CETA, the Cyprus Parliament is setting the conditions for putting a tombstone on the treaty: since ratification must be unanimous by all EU Member States, if the Cypriot decision is not overturned by a new vote, the agreement will automatically decay when the Nicosia government communicates its decision to the European institutions.

In these hours, pressures from the EU, the Cypriot government and the media on Parliament and public opinion in the small but proud island Republic is enormous.

Together we have made contact with the democratic, grass-roots and left-wing forces in Cyprus to express our support, sympathy, congratulations and thanks for the strong campaign against CETA and the result achieved. We consider ourselves actively engaged side by side with the Cypriot people, whose will must be respected and safeguarded.

Italy has not yet ratified CETA. The pressures to do so are very strong and is increasing, while the treaty continues to produce its effects through provisional application. We strongly demand that the vote on ratification by the Houses of Parliament be fixed and that the parliamentary representatives speak out to protect the interests of the working classes, the protection of the environment and the safeguarding of democracy and the rule of law by rejecting, following the example of Cyprus, this dangerous agreement.

Together we will redouble our efforts to publicly denounce the EU’s free trade agreements, as well as the spoliation of democratic control and sovereignty that they introduce, and to build popular awareness and mobilise the people against the principles that animate them, in close relation to the popular forces in the other EU member States and those active within its counterparts. In this context, we draw attention to the danger of reopening negotiations for an agreement between the EU and the US following the failure of the TTIP in 2017.

Now more than ever before, the response to the attack of capital against our interests and our needs passes through the exercise of an inclusive, active and operative internationalism, of which our organizations intend to be protagonists together in the spirit of the “July 30th Platform”.