Activists delivered what they said was Germany’s biggest-ever public complaint to the Constitutional Court on Wednesday, hoping it will scupper a trade agreement between the European Union and Canada.
The deal, which some see as a template for an EU-U.S. agreement still being negotiated, is the EU’s most ambitious trade pact to date and could increase trade between the two areas by some 20 percent.
It would eliminate tariffs on 98 percent of goods immediately. It also would encompass regulatory cooperation, shipping, sustainable development and access to government tenders. But its ratification faces obstacles.
Although proponents say it could add some 11.6 billion euros a year to the EU economy, many EU voters are skeptical about the benefits and fear it would give multinational corporations greater access to European markets without creating jobs.
The three German groups – Campact, foodwatch and More Democracy – arrived at the Karlsruhe court with a lorry containing 70 boxes of documents with 125,000 signatures.
They argue the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) breaches Germany’s constitution and want the court in Karlsruhe to stop the implementation of the deal before (official) ratification by EU states.