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CETA vote divides Dutch, Polish, Belgian mainstream MEPs


Data on the European Parliament’s vote consenting to the Comprehensive Economic and Partnership Agreement with Canada released today reveal emerging new fractures in Europe’s political groups as pro-trade mainstream parties saw a rise in votes against the pact.  

The vote on CETA held in Strasbourg on Wednesday (15 February 2017) wielded less approvals from MEPs than a non binding resolution on the contentious but now frozen Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership – TTIP – in July 2015. While CETA was adopted with 408 votes in favour, approval in principle of the TTIP brought 436 votes eighteen months ago.  

As expected the left-of-centre Socialists and Democrats group divided on the Canadian trade pact. The CETA vote attracted a record 63 votes against among left-of-centre MEPs across the EU, with S&D members from Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, and Poland all voting against CETA.   British and Italian S&D members in particular were deeply split in their votes.

The Netherlands and its social-democrats have traditionally been in favour of trade: the largely negative vote of the Dutch S&D members (with three abstentions) reflects the dramatic shift against free trade in Holland in the last couple of years, as well as the pre-electoral climate in the country.  

No votes were also prevalent in the usually pro free trade ALDE group, with four MEPs Jean Arthuis and Robert Rochefort from France, Marian Harkin from Ireland, and Ivo Vajgl from Slovenia voting against the pact. Further ALDE members Marielle de Sarnez and Nathalie Griesbeck (both from France), Ulrike Müller from Germany, and Maite Pagazaurtundua Ruiz from Spain abstained.   

Two Belgian centre-right MEPs from the EPP group Pascal Arimont and Claude Rolin voted against CETA. Three Polish MEPs from the same group also voted against CETA. Among them, Krzysztof Hetman had so far voted in favour of most EU trade agreements or trade initiatives in the European Parliament.  

The data provided for this article was released by