the EU and Canada will sign on Sunday 30 October in Brussels their free trade agreement (CETA), putting an end to two weeks of psychodrama with the Belgium and French-speaking region of Wallonia, which was blocking the signature. “Mission accomplished ! I just agree with the Prime minister (of canada) Justin Trudeau to take an EU-Canada summit on Sunday”, tweeted on Friday, shortly before midnight, the president of the EU Council, Donald Tusk, once obtained the approval of the 28 member States.
The summit will begin at 10: 30 (09: 30 GMT) in Brussels for a signing ceremony scheduled at noon (11.00 GMT), said on Twitter her spokesman Preben Aamann. The signing of CETA is a “great news”, welcomed the Prime minister of canada Justin Trudeau, who will be present in the belgian capital. “This is a positive sign in an uncertain world”, he stated during his telephone interview with Donald Tusk, according to a source european.
The AACC is “an agreement modern and progressive, opening the door to new opportunities, while protecting important interests”, has praised Robert Fico, Slovak Prime minister, whose country currently holds the presidency of the EU Council (representing the 28 member States). “In addition, it has the potential to pave the way to new trade agreements,” said Mr. Fico, even though the european Union is negotiating – without progress – another transatlantic treaty with the United States, the unpopular and controversial TTIP (or TAFTA).
The end of the palsy
the conclusion of The CETA, however, has been paralyzed in recent weeks by the internal disagreement in Belgium, several local Parliaments, the first of which are the one of Wallonia, remaining implacably hostile. It took days and nights of negotiations marathon that Parliaments belgian reluctant eventually give the green light on Friday, allowing the federal government to get out of the impasse.
once the treaty was signed, that will have to be approved by the european Parliament. He will enter this time under a provisional and partial, the time that it is ratified by all parliaments of the EU, a process that can take years.
The CETA “will remove over 99% of tariffs that are currently on the trade between the EU and Canada,” says the Council of the EU. “He sets high standards for the protection of consumers, environment and workers.”
opponents of the belgians at the AACC have received these last few days that he was assistant, among thirty other declarations of all the member States and on all subjects, a “declaration of the Kingdom of Belgium”, which, according to them, strengthens the protection of the european social and environmental model.
A “AACC amended”?
“The AACC amended, the AACC corrected, is more just than the old AETE, it offers more safeguards than the former CETA, and it is this that I defend in front of you”, pleaded the head of the regional government of wallonia, the socialist Paul Magnette, to its Parliament on Friday. In his speech, Mr Magnette has also warned that Wallonia would never accept a treaty that does not provide the same guarantees as the one that will bind now the EU and Canada.
“already, we can draw the lesson: with the AACC enhanced, the TTIP is dead and buried”, he launched to members of parliament, in reference to the other free trade agreement negotiated painstakingly with Washington.
The treaty would have had to be approved Thursday in Brussels in the presence of Justin Trudeau, but the summit had been postponed at the last minute, due to lack of agreement in belgium. With the same powers as a national Parliament, the walloon assembly had not failed to share from the month of its reserves, which dealt in particular with the agricultural sector and the establishment of courts ad hoc to resolve disputes between multinational companies and States.
the Reserves that the federal government of liberal Prime minister Charles Michel, european institutions and Canada had not truly taken the measure before the beginning of October. Despite intense pressures, the Walloons have stood up to the EU’s already weakened by the Brexit, threatening to plunge into a new crisis.
The walloon government has obtained that Belgium asks the Court of justice of the EU opinion on the conformity of the arbitration mechanism (ICS) that the AACC would provide in the event of a conflict between an investor and a State, but that would only be implemented once the treaty has been ratified by all european parliaments.
The negotiations that belgians are not “change a comma” in the AACC, as the repeated Charles Michel, a rival policy, Paul Magnette, but the leader walloon is targué to have it “amended” on several points.