New Dutch referendum looms challenging the EU-Canada trade and investment pact
Dutch activists announced they have garnered nearly two-thirds of the signatures needed to force the government to hold a referendum on the new EU-Canada trade and investment pact (CETA), in what may prove a fresh setback to the deal.
The controversial deal was signed in the end of October, after 7 years of negotiations. The deal was held up by last-minute resistance from a Belgian region.
But the agreement now has to go back to most member states of the European Union for ratification.
Grassroots groups in The Netherlands are calling for a referendum on whether parliament here should ratify the giant Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), as well as a Transatlantic deal with the United States known as TTIP.
A petition launched in October 2015 has collected more than 190,400 signatures out of the 300,000 needed to compel the government to organise a referendum on the issue.
The CETA deal will remove 99% of customs duties between Canada and the EU, tightly linking the single EU market of 28 nations with the world’s 10th largest economy.