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Commission bows to member states on trade agreement

The European Commission has backtracked on its position regarding the implementation of a free trade agreement between the EU and Canada, by giving national parliaments the chance to reject the deal.

The Commission announced on 5 July that it would present the deal to the European Council and European Parliament as a “mixed” agreement, meaning that although it could be provisionally applied following approval from the Council and Parliament, it will need to be ratified by all member state national parliaments before entering into full force.

Previously the Commission had said that member state ratification would not be needed or allowed because EU trade agreements are an exclusive competence of the EU institutions. But politicians in Germany and France had called on the Commission not to bypass national democratic processes, particularly in light of the UK having voted on 23 June to leave the EU, in part because of a perception that the EU institutions are anti-democratic.

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