On July 31, 2020, the Cypriot parliament voted against the ratification of CETA, the trade deal between the EU and Canada.
The agreement was ratified by Canada in 2017 and has subsequently been provisionally applied by the EU. However, as it is a “mixed agreement,” CETA must be ratified by all 27 member states before all provisions apply, including the rules on foreign investment. To date, 15 member states (including the U.K.) have ratified the agreement.
Central to the concerns of the Cypriot parties which voted against the agreement is the lack of a geographical indication for halloumi cheese. Geographical indications are given to agricultural and food products which originate from specific regions, differentiating them from similar products produced elsewhere. Opposition parties also cited concerns regarding environmental and labour protection, GMOs, and protections for small producers.
Observers argue that it is unlikely that Cypriot opposition to CETA will torpedo the entire agreement, suggesting that a deal can be reached before the Cypriot parliament returns to vote on the deal again in the autumn. However, CETA must still be ratified in member states including Italy and the Netherlands, in which important political parties also oppose the deal.