EU-Canada Trade Pact Lawsuit Tossed by Top German Court

Germany’s top court threw out a lawsuit by lawmakers demanding more scrutiny over participation in the CETA trade pact between the European Union and Canada.

The Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe on Tuesday rejected a suit by the opposition party Die Linke claiming that Germany’s parliament failed to adequately oversee the trade talks and should have passed a law in 2016 on the government’s remit in the negotiation between the EU and Canada.

The court said the suit was inadmissible because Germany’s constitution doesn’t allow lawmakers to hand the EU more powers simply by passing legislation.

“If the European Union transgresses the powers it was granted, such action is unconstitutional,” Court Vice President Doris Koenig said. “Passing a law can’t legitimize such an action beforehand.”

Tuesday’s ruling neither bans nor clears CETA. There are still a number of complaints pending at the top court. In an interim ruling in October 2016, the tribunal had allowed the country to preliminary agree to some parts of the treaty and the pact provisionally took effect about a year later. If the court finally issues an adverse ruling, Germany could still be compelled to withdraw from CETA.

Die Linke, also commonly referred to as the Left Party,, and other groups in Germany oppose the trade agreement, claiming in lawsuits that the EU signed the deal while lacking the powers to do so. Some of the topics the pact covers are areas that only the member states can decide on, they claim. These cases have now been pending for almost half a decade.

In Tuesday’s ruling, judges said that lawmakers did enough to scrutinize the process and address the controversial issues of the EU’s powers.

A majority of members of parliament at the time told the government to make sure the provisional enforcement of the treaty wouldn’t encroach on areas where member states had the tight to keep control, the judges wrote.

The case is BVerfG, 2 BvE 4/16.

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