Tuesday

22nd Jan 2019

Belgian region still saying No to EU-Canada trade pact

  • Opposition to the trade deal with Canada and USA made clear in front of the EU commission's headquarters in Brussels (Photo: Eszter Zalan)

EU ambassadors are to discuss in a last minute attempt on Monday evening (17 October) how to accomodate Belgium's concerns over the Canada-EU trade agreement (Ceta), after the Wallonian regional parliament rejected the accord last week.

The agreement is due to be adopted by EU trade ministers on Tuesday in Luxembourg, but Belgium and Romania are holding off.

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.

... or join as a group

The Belgian federal government cannot give its consent without Wallonia's authorisation.

Romania is still in talks with Canada over visa-free travel, as visa requirements for Romanian citizens traveling to Canada have made Bucharest reluctant to sign the deal.

Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau is due in Brussels on 27 October to sign the Ceta agreement with the EU.

The EU Commission in July decided that national and regional assemblies should be part of the approval process amid calls by some EU leaders to involve national parliaments more in European policies.

Offcials ruled out using a qualified majority vote to outvote Belgium in the council in order to avoid further stalemate.

The issue could even land on the agenda of EU leaders who gather for a summit on Thursday in Brussels.

EU officials are hoping that tweaking the so-called "joint interpretative declaration", which sets out a common understanding of the agreement with the Canadians, would soothe Wallonia's concerns, however.

But the French-speaking region's Socialist prime minister Paul Magnette is holding out despite international pressure to give the green light.

"Time is needed ... We will need a few extra days," he told the Walloon parliament on Monday.

"This is a very difficult fight, we have sometimes got veiled threats in recent hours," he said about the mounting pressure on his region.

Failing to sign Ceta would be a major embarassment for the EU, as it could lose credibility as a trading partner globally.

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-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.

Interview

Canada trade deal is 'wrong enemy'

The EU's trade deal with Canada is coming under pressure from critics and member states, but the EP rapporteur argues supporters of protectionism are picking the wrong enemy.

News in Brief

  1. EU hits Mastercard with €570m fine
  2. Romanian minister prepares to cancel corruption cases
  3. Sefcovic: no gas supply problems this winter
  4. Report: Commission warning on passport-sale schemes
  5. France summons Italian ambassador over colonial remark
  6. May U-turn on fee for EU nationals in UK
  7. French data watchdog gives Google €50m fine
  8. EU hits Russians with sanctions over Salisbury attack

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership For Human RightsKyrgyz authorities have to immediately release human rights defender Azimjon Askarov
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersSeminar on disability and user involvement
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersInternational appetite for Nordic food policies
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Nordic Innovation House in Hong Kong
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region has chance to become world leader when it comes to start-ups
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  8. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General

Latest News

  1. France and Germany hope to revive EU with Aachen treaty
  2. May pushes defeated Brexit deal, offers no Plan B
  3. European Parliament targets 'fake' political groups
  4. What is fate of non-euro EU states after Brexit?
  5. Turkish NBA star takes on Erdogan
  6. 'Meme ban' still on table in EU copyright bill, says MEP
  7. Brexit power grab by MPs hangs over May's 'Plan B'
  8. Polish mayor's funeral marred by Tusk TV dispute

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us