Wednesday

20th Jun 2018

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.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... our join as a group

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.

Greek bailout exit takes shape

At a meeting next week, eurozone finance ministers and the IMF are expected to agree on new cash, debt relief measures, and a monitoring mechanism to ensure that Greece can live without international aid for the first time since 2010.

Opinion

Eurozone needs institutional reform

Both the examples of Greece and Italy test the limits of a system with inherent weaknesses that feeds internal gaps, strengthens deficits and debts in the European South, and surpluses in the European North respectively.

Opinion

Europe could lose out in North Korean bonanza

South Korean businesses including Hyundai and Samsung are already scoping investment opportunities. Will North Korea become a 'new Vietnam' opportunity - or more like Myanmar, where slow Brussels policy-making meant EU exporters lost out.

News in Brief

  1. EU copyright vote 'could damage open internet'
  2. Merkel and Macron agree on eurozone budget
  3. Report: EU to look at outsourcing asylum
  4. EU court orders Le Pen to repay EU parliament
  5. Commission needs time to assess German Dieselgate fine
  6. Merkel and Macron meet over migration and eurozone
  7. Salvini plans census of Roma communities
  8. Slovenia to take Croatia to court in border row

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  2. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMHRMI Launches Lawsuits Against Individuals and Countries Involved in Changing Macedonia's Name
  3. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  4. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  6. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  8. Mission of China to the EUChina: Work Together for a Better Globalisation
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordics Could Be First Carbon-Negative Region in World
  10. European Federation of Allergy and AirwaysLife Is Possible for Patients with Severe Asthma
  11. PKEE - Polish Energy AssociationCommon-Sense Approach Needed for EU Energy Reform
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to Lead in Developing and Rolling Out 5G Network

Latest News

  1. Hungary to push ahead with 'Stop Soros' law on NGOs
  2. Swedish party puts EU referendums back in fashion
  3. EU summit set to outsource asylum
  4. Dutch request to clarify Brexit Britons' rights annulled
  5. EU states set to back some asylum reform laws
  6. The Baltic 'Big Sea' strategy
  7. Orban to EPP: turn 'Christian democratic' or face challenge
  8. Is EU retail sector equipped for 21st century?

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us