The EU-Japan Free Trade Agreement (JEFTA) negotiations were launched in March 2013. Between 10 and 13 December the plenary of the EU Parliament is planned to vote on the agreement.
JEFTA is the biggest trade agreement ever concluded by the European Union, with a country which GDP is three times higher than the one of Canada - the party for the previous agreement, CETA, that has served as a model for JEFTA according to the European Commission.
While CETA had included a number of shortcomings for water resources as well as for public water and wastewater management, the provisions of JEFTA even fall short of CETA. Additionally a considerable amount of power will be transferred from the EU Parliament to highly intransparent committees.
Unlike in the CETA Agreement (Art. 1.9), there is no article on "rights and obligations relating to water" in the JEFTA Agreement. This article, although insufficiently, excludes water "in its natural state" from becoming a market commodity and, although also insufficiently, preserves the rights of public authorities to decide independently how to allocate water resources.
Because of CETA's shortcomings on water some member states had insisted on including clarifications on water in the - legally not binding - CETA Joint Interpretative Instrument (No. 11, p. 8). Especially the declaration of Slovenia to the Council minutes highlights CETA's deficiencies and stresses the right of Slovenia to limit or cancel the awarded water rights (No. 23 p. 18). All this is missing in the JEFTA agreement.
We remind you that water is essential for life. In times of water shortages becoming a widespread phenomenon also in the EU we have to regard anyone approving JEFTA as acting highly irresponsibly.