|Published : 13 Oct 2016, 14:25:54|
Hearing on EU-Canada trade deal at top German court
Germany's highest court heard calls Wednesday from opponents of a European Union-Canada trade deal for an injunction aimed at putting the signing of the accord on ice.
The organisations behind the complaint say it is the biggest constitutional complaint in German history.
They say the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) deal violates democratic principles and will give too much power to multinational companies.
But the German economy minister says a ruling in favour of the petitioners would be "a catastrophe".
The Constitutional Court in the south-western city of Karlsruhe is due to rule on the emergency appeal on Thursday.
The deal has already been agreed after years of negotiations - but if this petition is successful, correspondents say, it is extremely unlikely to be signed as scheduled at the end of October.
Three activist groups gathered more than 125,000 signatures which they passed to the court in 70 boxes of documents in August.
Their legal objection to the deal is that parts of it can come into force even before national parliaments have ratified it, thus breaching the German constitution.
"Not a single parliament elected by me - neither the Bundestag nor the European Parliament - was given a mandate to negotiate for CETA," says Roman Huber of More Democracy; according to agencies.