Is the EU Preparing for Another Stealth Coup? by Don Quijones

The EU prepares to pull yet another fast one on Europeans. From Don Quijones at

Taking its anti-democratic approach to a whole new level.

After years of tireless scheming behind hermetically closed doors, the time is almost due for the European Commission to give the respective national parliaments of the EU’s 28 Member States a chance to vote on the proposed trade agreement with Canada, the so-called Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). At long last, a secret agreement that received absolutely no input from the general public and a heck of a lot of input from the world’s biggest corporations and their lobbyists will be presented to and voted on by Europe’s elected representatives.

Or at that was the plan.

Ever since it began negotiating trade agreements like CETA, TTIP and TiSA, the Commission has repeatedly promised that when the proposed agreements were ready, it would let democracy take its course. But democracy and the latest generation of hyper-covert trade agreements are far from comfortable bedfellows, and the European Commission has already shown on numerous occasions a complete disregard for democratic process.

Lo and behold, last week a letter from the Italian minister for economic development, Carlo Calenda, to the EU commissioner for trade, Cecilia Malmström, was obtained by the Italian “Stop TTIP Campaign,” and posted on its site. In the letter, the two discuss the possibility of Italy’s government coming to the Commission’s rescue and effectively blocking the parliaments of all the other countries from having their say on CETA.

“I would like to inform you that Italy, after a technical and political assessment, is ready to consider to support the Commission on the ‘EU only’ nature of (the) above-mentioned agreement,” Calenda wrote. The story was corroborated by an article published last week in Italy’s leading financial newspaper, Il Sole 24 Ore, which specifically mentions the government’s offer to block national votes.

As Glyn Moody notes in ArsTechnica, the national parliaments of the 28 member states could vote on CETA, but only if all EU governments demand it:

If Italy refuses to join with the other countries, the European Commission would be able to send the agreement to the Council of the European Union for approval, where a “qualified majority” would be enough for it to be passed.

It’s impossible to know exactly how the commission persuaded Italy’s government to do its dirty work, but suffice to say that the country’s crumbling banking system would provide some powerful leverage. As for its part in the secret deal, the Commission has good reason for wanting to bypass Europe’s 28 national parliaments: just one vote (out of 28) against the trade agreement would be enough to scupper a deal that has been seven years in the making and for which negotiations were concluded a year and a half ago.

To continue reading: Is the EU Preparing for Another Stealth Coup?

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