EU lawmakers block new challenge to Canada trade pact

The European Parliament has voted down a challenge by a group of EU lawmakers to try to have the bloc's hard-won trade pact with Canada referred to Europe's top court.

The attempt was rejected Wednesday by 419 to 258 with 22 abstentions.

German lawmaker Daniel Caspary, who led efforts to block the challenge, said the EU-Canada "agreement provides an answer to our concerns regarding globalization without causing problems for democracy."

The assembly is now set to endorse the pact next month. Validation of the 29-nation accord was previously delayed by the small Belgian region of Wallonia.

The accord scraps almost all customs duties, cuts prices and provides more choice for consumers, but opponents say it will undermine labor, environment and consumer standards and allow multinationals to crush local companies.