The ratification of the Ceta free trade agreement between the EU and Canada has been provisionally applied since 2017. However, Foreign Trade Minister Frank Rister announced that it will not be forwarded to the National Assembly before the European elections. This decision was made after the Senate rejected the agreement on March 21, causing embarrassment to the executive ahead of the election.

Following this rejection, communist MPs planned to include a vote on Ceta in their parliamentary time in May 30th. However, it seems that the government is delaying its passage through legislation. Minister Rister stated that he will forward it at an appropriate time, but not until after the European elections, so as to avoid any political exploitation by certain opposition groups.

Rister believes that this alliance between communists and some LR senators is politically motivated and harmful to French businesses, farmers and exporters. He defended Ceta’s benefits for France, highlighting how it distinguishes itself from unfavorable trade agreements. If rejected by the National Assembly, however, Rister’s government faces a complex decision: informing Brussels of non-ratification or risking a backlash from opposition parties.

By Samantha Johnson

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