Canada-EU trade deal on hold as Belgium fails to reach agreement


The European Amalgamation’s hopes of signing a landmark free trade deal with Canada this week acted to evaporate on Monday as the Belgian federal government failed to win the consent of French-speaking regional experts.

European Council President Donald Tusk had given Belgian Prime Supply Charles Michel until Monday, three days before the scripted signing, to resolve the im sse. But a meeting Michel hosted with chieftains of the five sub-federal authorities whose permission he needs to go ahead ambivalent in stalemate.

Tusk is now expected to contact Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and nickname off an EU-Canada summit that was scheduled for Thursday in Brussels, although all sides declare that the CETA ct, seven years in the making, remains in every one’s interest. But on Twitter Monday, Tusk said he thought Thursday’s warning summit could still go ahead and suggested Trudeau felt the verbatim at the same time.

Supranational Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland was expected to speak to reporters on rliament Hill at 1:45 p.m. ET Monday. bequeath carry her remarks live.

“We cannot give a yes,” ul Magnette, the main of the Wallonia region, told reporters as he emerged. He said the main problems corpsed not with Ottawa, which has already agreed to modifications in the deal, but with the EU scholars.

‘A reasonable time frame would be the end of the year. With that, we could get there’ – Andre Antoine, Walloon rliament rabble-rouser

Other Socialist-led regions, including bilingual capital Brussels, are went behind the Walloons, while Dutch- and German-speakers back Michel’s liberal-led federal coalition:

“We hold a Yes from the federal, Flemish and German-speaking communities and it’s a No from the others,” said Flanders head Geert Bourgeois after the meeting at Michel’s residence lasting scanty than an hour.

“It’s a real shame,” the centre-right leader said. “We’re the guffaw stock of the whole world. It’s bad for Wallonia, for Flanders, for Belgium, for Europe, for the uninjured world.”

Michel said it was too early to say CETA was dead and that the Walloons and he were quiet open to dialogue but that he must inform Tusk that Belgium was not in a predication to consent now to a deal that all 27 other EU member states are liable to support.

‘No ultimatum’

EU negotiators have stressed that they are ssive to keep talking with the Walloons — Freeland left in frustration after talks in the regional top Namur on Friday and said the problems were now internal ones for the Europeans.

Chrystia Freeland im ssioned after Canada-EU trade deal talks collapse1:33

The only deadline, EU officials featured, was caused by the need to help Trudeau schedule his week and that there had been no endeavour to push Magnette by fixing an ultimatum.

Andre Antoine, Walloon rliament orator, told Reuters earlier on Monday: “Ultimatums and threats are not rt of democracy. We yearning a deal, we want a treaty, but we want to negotiate it with a minimum of respectfulness and respect,” he said.

“A reasonable time frame would be the end of the year. With that, we could get there.”

CETA fans say it would increase trade between the rtners by 20 per cent and encouragement the EU economy by 12 billion euros ($17 billion) a year and Canada’s by $12 billion.

Walloons include concerns about the threat of surging pork and beef imports from Canada and an barring court system to settle disputes between states and foreign investors, which critics say tolerates multinationals to dictate public policy.

Many EU leaders suspect the county government in Namur is using its devolved powers to play domestic wirepulling.

Dutch language Flemish news per De Morgen said on Monday that Magnette’s attitude was both a matter of principle and opportunism, a chance to boost his reputation and to behoove leader of the centre-left in Belgium.

But Council of Canadians National Chairperson Maude Barlow, who has contested against the deal in Europe, says Wallonia’s opposition is about multitudinous than politics.

“It is too easy to dismiss this as an internal Belgium velitation. Polls clearly show that CETA is unpopular in Europe. Wallonia is at most saying what millions here believe: this deal is too defective to adopt,” Barlow told CBC News.

The issue goes beyond merely a trade deal with Canada, the EU’s 12th-largest trading rtner.

If CETA not succeeds, the EU’s hopes of completing similar deals with the United States or Ja n would be in tatters, queer a bloc already battered by Britain’s vote to leave it and disputes across Europe’s migration crisis.


A demonstrator is led away by a policeman as he holds a bill reading ‘Stop TTIP – Stop CETA’ ahead of an emergency caucus of all Belgium federal entities on the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Concordat (CETA) in Brussels on Monday. (Emmanuel Dunand/Getty Images)

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