Opponents of a controversial free trade agreement between the European Union and Canada will take their case to Germany’s Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe on Wednesday.
The complainants want the court’s judges to make a finding which will force the German government to vote against the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) at a meeting of the EU’s Council of Ministers on October 18.
The case was brought to Karlsruhe by three organizations, Foodwatch, Campact and More Democracy, who managed to obtain an unprecedented 125,00 signatures from members of the public.
CETA critics are concerned that the agreement could come into force in the EU before the approval of national parliaments.
Opponents also believe that the agreement will erode environmental and consumer protections in the EU. The German government says CETA – which will abolish 99 per cent of customs duties – will bring economic growth and open up new markets.
The discussion around the CETA deal has grown increasingly politicized recently, as it became swept up in the debate about a larger EU free trade deal currently in negotiation with the United States.
In September, an estimated 320,000 people rallied across Germany to protest the two deals.
A decision in the case is expected on Thursday at 10am (0800 GMT).
Should the legal action be unsuccessful, the agreement is set to be signed at the end of the month and, after agreement by the European Parliament, will come into power in parts of the bloc shortly thereafter.