Tuesday

27th Jun 2017

Belgian local parliament votes to block Canada trade deal

  • The EU-Canada free trade deal, Ceta, was finalised in February this year after almost seen years of negotiations. (Photo: Cornelia Reetz, Mehr Demokratie)

Members of the parliament of the Federation Wallonia-Brussels voted a resolution on Wednesday (12 October) that could block the signing of the EU-Canada free trade deal, Ceta.

The deputies, who represent Belgium's French-speaking community, voted by 68 votes against 23 a text calling the region's president not to authorise the Belgian government to sign the deal.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

They ask that negotiations with Canada are open again in a "transparent, democratic and inclusive" way.

Under Belgian law, the federal government needs approval from the country's seven entities - regions and linguistic communities - to sign international agreements.

Ceta was finalised in February this year after almost seven years of negotiations.

EU and Canadian leaders hope to sign it at the end of this month when Canada's prime minister Justin Trudeau comes to Brussels.

EU trade ministers will first meet on 18 October to decide whether to sign it or not. Belgium could be outvoted if ministers cannot find unanimity and organise a vote with a qualified majority. But an EU source told EUobserver that holding a vote on the issue would be politically difficult.

The parliament's resolution is not binding, and the president of the Federation Wallonia-Brussels, Rudy Demotte, could decide not to block Ceta and authorise the federal prime minister Charles Michel to sign the deal.

The Belgian federal parliament and the Dutch-speaking Flanders region support Ceta, but the French-speaking assembly could vote against it.

On Friday, the parliament of the French-speaking Wallonia region will also vote on a resolution calling the federal prime minister Charles Michel not to sign Ceta. It already adopted an anti-Ceta resolution in April.

The Brussels-Capital region could also vote against the deal.

The votes come as prime minister Michel is already weakened by a deadlock in his coalition government over next year's budget. Opposition on Ceta from several parliaments would put him in a difficult position, domestically as well as within the EU.

EU-Canada trade deal faces final hurdles

EU states could sign off the Canada-EU trade deal next week, if the consitutional court in Germany, or a Belgian regional parliament does not stop them.

Canada woos sceptical EU left on trade deal

Future of CETA largely hangs on the support of Europe’s social democrats. Canada’s trade minister has been touring hotspots of scepticism to convince them that the deal is progressive.

Wallonia hinders Canada-EU trade deal

The French speaking region of Belgium refused to authorise the federal government to sign the Canada-EU trade deal, wanting guarantees of further negotiation to sooth concerns.

EU approves rescue of Italian banks

The European Commission gave the green light to a €17-billion plan by the Italian government to save Banca Popolare di Vicenza and Veneto Banca.

Focus

EU and China move to fill US void

At a summit in Brussels, EU and Chinese leaders will attempt to deepen ties on trade and climate as US president Trump plans to pull out of the Paris climate deal.

Italy reaches EU deal on failing bank

After months of negotiations, the European Commission and Italy agreed on the terms of rescue for Monte dei Paschi di Siena bank, including job cuts, salary caps and private sector involvement in the bailout.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Talks Should Insist on Ending Reprisals Against Critical Voices
  2. European Free AllianceEFA Is Looking for a New Intern
  3. Malta EU 2017Conservation of Atlantic Tunas: International Measures Become EU Law
  4. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceCan Statin Therapy Interfere With a Physically Active Lifestyle?
  5. EPSUOn Public Services Day, Stop Austerity! Workers Need a Pay Rise!
  6. EGBAOnline Gambling: The EU Court Rejects Closed Licensing Regimes In Member States
  7. World VisionFaces of Today, Leaders of Tomorrow: Join the Debate on Violence Against Girls - 29 June
  8. ECR GroupThe EU Must Better Protect Industry from Unfair Competition
  9. Malta EU 2017Better Protection for Workers From Cancer-Causing Substances
  10. EPSUAfter 9 Years of Austerity Europe's Public Sector Workers Deserve a Pay Rise!
  11. Dialogue PlatformGlobalised Religions and the Dialogue Imperative. Join the Debate!
  12. UNICEFEU Trust Fund Contribution to UNICEF's Syria Crisis Response Reaches Nearly €200 Million

Latest News

  1. 'USB condoms' and migration on Estonia's EU agenda
  2. EU parliament should befriend transparency
  3. EU fines Google €2.4 bn over online shopping
  4. EU Commission could get say on Russia gas pipeline
  5. G20 is 'test run' for Trump-era climate governance
  6. Political conditions for EU funds prompt debate
  7. May defends proposal on EU citizens' rights
  8. UK visitors to pay into EU budget after Brexit