Saturday

10th Dec 2016

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.

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.

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.

EU public lacks voice on banking laws

The complexity of financial laws and lack of NGO resources means the “man in the street” has little say on EU banking regulation, the EU Commission has warned.

News in Brief

  1. Council of Europe critical of Turkey emergency laws
  2. Italian opposition presses for anti-euro referendum
  3. Danish MP wants warning shots fired to deter migrants
  4. Defected Turkish officers to remain in Greece
  5. Most child asylum seekers are adults, says Denmark
  6. No school for children of 'illegal' migrants, says Le Pen
  7. Ombudsman slams EU Commission on tobacco lobbying
  8. McDonald's moves fiscal HQ to UK following tax probe

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Swedish EnterprisesHow to Use Bioenergy Coming From Forests in a Sustainable Way?
  2. Counter BalanceReport Reveals Corrupt but Legal Practices in Development Finance
  3. Swedish EnterprisesMEPs and Business Representatives Debated on the Future of the EU at the Winter Mingle
  4. ACCASets Out Fifty Key Factors in the Public Sector Accountants Need to Prepare for
  5. UNICEFSchool “as Vital as Food and Medicine” for Children Caught up in Conflict
  6. European Jewish CongressEJC President Breathes Sigh of Relief Over Result of Austrian Presidential Election
  7. CESICongress Re-elects Klaus Heeger & Romain Wolff as Secretary General & President
  8. European Gaming & Betting AssociationAustrian Association for Betting and Gambling Joins EGBA
  9. ACCAWomen of Europe Awards: Celebrating the Women who are Building Europe
  10. European Heart NetworkWhat About our Kids? Protect Children From Unhealthy Food and Drink Marketing
  11. ECR GroupRestoring Trust and Confidence in the European Parliament
  12. UNICEFChild Rights Agencies Call on EU to put Refugee and Migrant Children First