Dutch Senate approves European free trade agreement with Canada
A majority in the Eerste Kamer, the upper house of Dutch parliament, voted to approve the European free trade agreement with Canada. The provisions in the treaty, known as CETA, put an end to import duties between the European Union and the North American country, while making it easier for workers in international firms to transfer offices between the regions. It also allows for accreditation in different fields to be recognized in both Canada and the EU.
A total of 40 senators voted on Tuesday in favor of the treaty. There were 35 members of the Eerste Kamer who voted against.
Support in the Eerste Kamer seemed very uncertain for a long time, but last weekend it became clear that the PvdA would give its support. That guaranteed a majority vote in favor of the treaty. The treaty was still debated on Monday, with nearly all opposition parties voicing criticism.
More than 90 percent of the treaty entered into force in 2017. Despite this, opponents still expressed fear that the treaty undermined European standards, for example in the field of food safety, animal welfare and workers' rights.
In addition to CETA, the Eerste Kamer also voted on Tuesday on the Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) between the EU and Canada. This includes agreements on human rights, the fight against terrorism and judicial cooperation. This agreement was also approved by the senators.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times