German court rejects complaint to suspend Canada trade deal

AP News
Posted: Oct 13, 2016 5:39 AM
German court rejects complaint to suspend Canada trade deal

BERLIN (AP) — Germany's highest court has rejected calls from opponents of a European Union-Canada trade deal for an injunction that had the potential to spell an end to the pact.

The Federal Constitutional Court ruled Thursday against the complaints against the trade deal with Canada, known as CETA. Tens of thousands of citizens joined in two of those complaints.

The plaintiffs had wanted the government to be forced to vote against approving the accord at an EU meeting on Oct. 18 pending full consideration by the court of their contention that it violates the principles of democracy.

Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel, who is also Germany's economy minister, had warned that putting off CETA's signing could effectively torpedo the accord.

The judges attached some conditions to their decision designed to help address the plantiffs' concerns. One condition was that the treaty be interpreted to allow a unilateral German exit from its preliminary application. Once European Union leaders sign off on the treaty, the treaty can be provisionally applied ahead of full ratification by the European Parliament and national ratification procedures in the member states. Negotiations were completed in August 2014.

Gabriel told reporters that "we will naturally fulfill" the stipulations that the court made in its ruling, saying it would be relatively easy. "I am very satisfied with the outcome of the hearing," he said.