Sunday

15th Sep 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. Nearly 100 refugees evacuated from Libya to Italy
  2. Juncker to meet Johnson on Monday
  3. First Hungary 'Article 7' hearing set for Monday
  4. Vestager picks Danish EU ambassador as cabinet head
  5. Commissioner hearings will start 30 September
  6. Italy says EU countries agree to take in rescued migrants
  7. Germany to organise Libya conference on arms embargo
  8. European Parliament to support another Brexit delay

Opinion

Why von der Leyen must put rights at core of business

Ursula von der Leyen's in-tray must include those European executives on trial for systematic workplace harassment, the break-up of European slavery rings, and allegations of European companies' abuse in palm oil, including child labour, land grabs, and deforestation.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  2. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  6. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  8. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  9. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  10. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  11. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat

Latest News

  1. Brexit and new commission in focus This WEEK
  2. As recession looms Europe needs more spending
  3. How should the EU handle Russia now?
  4. EU defence bravado criticised by auditors
  5. Central European leaders demand EU Balkan accession
  6. Luxembourg's cannabis legalisation is EU opportunity
  7. The Catalan National Day has been a success. Why?
  8. Why I'm voting against the von der Leyen commission

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us