Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Aacc : Wallonia makes them happy in Europe – Libération

Ironic or annoyed, the socialist Paul Magnette, minister-president of Wallonia, wrote on Twitter Sunday : “a Pity that the EU pressure on those who obstruct the fight against tax fraud may not be as intense.” Since a week, the community institutions run amok : the Polish Donald Tusk, president of the european Council of heads of State and government, and the Swedish Cecilia Malmström, commissioner for Trade, both liberals, have launched an ultimatum on ultimatum to allow the belgian federal government to sign the Ceta, the free trade agreement with Canada. The conservatives (EPP) of the european Parliament, just like Tusk, do not hesitate to shake the spectre of a Union weakened and deprived the future of any credibility to claim to s ign free-trade agreements. The German socialist Martin Schulz, president of the european Parliament, was played on Saturday, the mister good offices, the German SPD and supporting the Aacc… but Paul Magnette is good. The summit between the Eu and Canada, expected on Thursday in Brussels to sign solemnly the Aacc, will not take place.

With its 3.6 million inhabitants, Wallonia is not only to oppose the signing of the treaty : the Brussels-Capital region (1.2 million inhabitants), dominated by the left and the centrists, is on the same wavelength. Still, the country is split into two, with the flemish majority (6 million people) being favourable. The clash is violent, pro-independence flemish N-VA, the main party in Flanders, and, therefore, of Belgium, and even qualified Wallonia “soviet republic”. A good dose of bad faith, the federalisation of Belgium is the result of the desire of these same guerrillas, who have never ceased to demand of competences previously vested in the federal State. Better, the assemblies which have powers in commercial matters (eight in all) may prevent the signature (not ratification) of a free-trade agreement european that interferes with their skills. It is for this reason that, for the moment, only the Parliaments in belgium have given their opinions, to the e xclusion of the 30 other national and regional Parliaments, who does the will after the signature of the Aacc. In fact, the latter is an agreement said to be “mixed”, that is to say, related skills, national or regional ; it must be ratified, according to the european treaties, by all national and regional Parliaments in addition to the european Parliament and the european Council of ministers. Therefore, Wallonia is only applying the rule of law, belgian and european, no offense to the Dutch-speaking belgians and the institutions of the community… Contrary to what would suggest the defenders of the treaty, Wallonia is not an island.

Spain, the civil society resistance

The conservative government of Mariano Rajoy has done everything to make leTafta (treaty between the EU and the United States) and the Aacc as subjects falling within the scope of simple management. Taking advantage of the provisional character of the government that he leads, the leader of the right has avoided any parliamentary debate. And release Brussels to sign it quickly. On this subject, the socialist Party does not say a word, immersed in an internal crisis. Except that the resistance to the Ceta is growing. Last weekend, 1 300 organizations (trade unions, environmentalists, etc.) have demonstrated in Madrid. In may, the Parliament of Extremadura was the second, after the Wallonia, to oppose it. Since then, 150 municipalities have followed suit. At the scale of the parties, only Podemos and the citizens ‘ movements at the head of cities such as Madrid, Zaragoza or Barcelona maintain their refusal. the “This treaty aims only to increase the profits of multin ationals, and goes against the interest of individuals and that of future generations”, tackle Gerardo Pisarello, deputy mayor of Barcelona.

Denmark, the political class in his little shoes

The Danes demonstrate against the Ceta and Tafta Thursday. A mobilisation organised at the initiative of the “Tafta-netværket” (“Tafta”) and bringing together a dozen NGOS. All believe that the agreement puts at stake the sovereignty of the kingdom. The left of the Danish, who was at the helm during negotiations, is in a delicate position. After having supported the Ceta and Tafta, when they ran the government, the social democrats are now more cautious. Mp Peter Hummelgaard, in charge of european affairs, thought it necessary to “to take into account the frustration that many voters feel with regard to these agreements signed in the sweet and ratified the night.” The far left calls for a referendum, while the populists of the Danish people’s Party, eurosceptics, recall their support in principle to the free trade agreements… But refuse to take a position.

Greece, Syriza is looking forward

“The choice of the Walloons is not a bad thing.” In the mouth of Costas Douzinas, mp of Syriza (the party of the radical left), the phrase sounds like an understatement. As if to say that this choice suits everyone, including those elected, trapped between the government, Syriza and the population. According to him, the majority of the Greek “don’t know what there is in this text…”, Syriza has expressed against the Ceta and Tafta : “They are undermining the foundations of our democracy.” Another concern : the provisional application of the Aacc for two years and without the prior consent of the national Parliaments. In a way, denounces Syriza, to transform the provisional irreversible. The “choice of the Walloons” would arrange it so all the world ? This is what wants to believe Giorgos Mitralias. For this responsible of the CADTM Greece (Committee for the abolition of the debts illegitimate), < em>“in opposition to the text, the Walloons are leading a historic fight that the Greek government, said left-side radical, would have had to carry out”.

Germany, the cold shower

a Staunch defender of the agreement, minister Gabriel (SPD) of the Economics, dismisses the lack of a future failure on the european Commission’s “several of whose representatives have completely ignored the concerns of the population”, he comments in an interview with the Handelsblatt Monday. the “Germany and France have more tried to speak with the walloon government officials in Brussels,” to carry there. The government itself is willing to hear these Germans have demonstrated in mass against the Aacc ? Nothing is less sure than that so that the coalition government of the CDU-SPD verging on implosion, a year of legislative. The secretary-general of the CDU, Peter Tauber, rejected in his turn Monday because of a future failure on Sigmar Gabriel and his endeavours to conciliation with the Walloons. the “It is not conceivable that a regional Parliament can block 28 european countries”, landed there. the “Germany has everything to gain from a free trade agreement, because our economy depends mainly on exports”, reminds Ferdinand Fichtner, director of the German Institute for economic research. He hoped that “governments are not going to respond with an outburst of protectionism because, as in the case of Brexit, the rejection of the Aacc reflects a malaise that goes far beyond trade matters”.

Nathalie Versieux Berlin, our correspondent , Jean Quatremer, BRUSSELS (EU), our correspondent , Anne-Françoise Hivert SCANDINAVIA, our corresponding , François Musseau Madrid, our correspondent , Fabien Perrier (Athens)


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