Ivan Jakovcic, Member of the European Parliament, Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe
“From my point of view, to vote in the European Parliament in favor or against CETA trade deal was the dilemma: Trudeau or Trump, free trade or protectionism, openness to the world or provincialism and the building of walls.
When I recently heard the President of the United States Trump warning European car companies he would impose a border tax on vehicles imported to the U.S. market, it was clear to me that our workers, employed in the automotive industry, and numerous subcontractors, will be facing problems. Car export from Europe would be reduced. That is why I voted for free trade.
I can say with great confidence that CETA deal will bring the development and better business opportunities, not only to big companies but also to small and medium-size enterprises. This trade deal will deliver decreased tariffs and additional possibilities for services and investments.
I would say that every EU Member State, just like my country, Croatia, and all European regions, just like my Istria, will benefit from CETA trade deal.
Taking into accounts most of the concerns that have been raised, should the EU be afraid of Canada?
There is no other nation outside the European Union so like us as the Canadians. More than 75% of the population of Canada has European roots. The Canadian nation has always stood for the same values that we stand for. Canada is a market with 35 million inhabitants. The European Union is a market with 500 million inhabitants. I think that the fears of the abolition of trade barriers between the EU and Canada are unjustified.
I strongly believe that free trade across the EU single market has contributed to the strengthening of national economies in the European Union.
A good example is my homeland Croatia. Within the past year, Croatia has achieved remarkable GDP growth. Economic growth has been achieved because Croatia has started using the benefits of its membership in the European Union and of free trade in the single market.
CETA will increase networking and bring the better connection between EU economy and the Canadian economy.
Multinational companies already conduct business on the Canadian market and on the EU market. I want to highlight the interest of SMEs. SMEs are the most vital part of the EU economy. CETA will give a boost to business expansion of small and medium-size enterprises in the market of Canada and the EU market.
Furthermore, this trade deal is a golden standard for future trade deals in the world.
The debate and vote in the European Parliament showed that the far left and far right parties are against this Agreement. This was expected because neither extreme left nor the extreme right parties are not in power and do not have the political responsibility of managing the European Union. These radicals on both sides are using “alternative facts”. Therefore, we must never follow a policy espoused by neo-fascist extreme right and the extreme neo-communist left.”