EU Sets Deadline for Belgium To Overcome Walloon Resistance to CETA
The European Union has set a deadline until Monday evening for Belgium to overcome the resistance of the French-speaking region of Wallonia against the free-trade agreement between the 28 member-states of the EU and Canada (CETA).
The outcome of Monday’s efforts will determine whether Canadian PM Justin Trudeau will arrive in Brussels for the signing of the deal at the summit Canada-EU.
CETA supporters claim that the agreement will result in a 20% increase in trade with EU’s 12th biggest partner. In Wallonia, however, the predominant opinion is that the terms of the agreement are bad for farmers in Europe, and give too much power to global and corporate interests.
Belgium cannot sign the deal without the approval of the five federal regions of the country. The premier of Wallonia, which contributes about 15% of Belgian GDP and has a negligible share in the economy of the EU, has called for the summit meeting on October 27 to be postponed.
“Ultimatums are irreconcilable with democracy,” stated Wallonia's premier Paul Magnette
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