clearly, the path that leads to the Aacc is fraught with pitfalls. The plane taking the canadian Prime minister, Justin Trudeau with Brussels has had technical problems and had to turn back, before taking off again late Saturday. According to the daily newspaper Toronto Star, the theft of Justin Trudeau to Brussels first had a delay of approximately 90 minutes, and then had to return to the Ottawa airport because of technical problems found on the flaps of wings, a half-hour after take-off. According to media reports, the aircraft was once again taken off shortly after.
beyond this anecdote, this Sunday should mark the epilogue of a long series. “Mission accomplished!” welcomed the president of the EU Council, Donald Tusk, once obtained, late Friday night, the indispensable approval of the 28 member States, paving the way for the signing. “Excellent news, well looking forward to it !”, he immediately replied Justin Trudeau, ready for several days to jump in the air to reach Brussels and waiting for the Europeans to settle their bisbilles.
Both messages are positive and pragmatic, but that did not dispel entirely the unease of an EU already rocked by the Brexit, the crisis of migrants and terrorism, after the runaway politics and the dramatization of issues that have surrounded the signing of this agreement, which aims to remove customs duties with a friend. This umpteenth european crisis is part of Belgium, more precisely of one of its regions, French-speaking Wallonia (3.6 million people), of which the Parliament has refused to approve the Aacc, as provided for in the belgian Constitution. In the absence of consensus belgian, it was not possible to have a european agreement.
The credibility of the european Union has been launched. If “Europe is unable to sign a commercial agreement progressive with a country like Canada, with which Europe think-does it make business in the years to come ?”, has tancé Justin Trudeau. Become the voice of the opponents to the Aacc, the Walloons feared the consequences of the treaty on agriculture. They were largely concerned with the possibility for a multinational company to attack a State that would adopt a public policy contrary to its interests.
No question of letting a court of private arbitrate these disputes, have repeated the anti-Ceta walloons, demanding guarantees, without which they do not grant them carte blanche to belgian federal government. The slowness of the “discussions” led to the cancellation of a summit with Canada expected on Thursday in Brussels. The EU has made low-profile : not a statement, not a tweet that would have run the risk of disrupting these laborious negotiations belgo-belgians. “We respect the democratic process”, have repeated the question of whether its spokesman.
a long process
The compromise agreement belgian eventually fell on Thursday mid-day, a few pages, which will be amended to the treaty. A “Aacc fix (…) is more just than the old AACC”, targué the head of the walloon government, the socialist Paul Magnette. No change, in fact : statements reiterating the provisions already included in the treaty, advances in the mode of appointment of judges of the arbitration court, and the announcement by the Belgium, she will ask the Court of justice of the EU (CJEU) to verify the compliance of that court with the european law. “Nothing is easy in Belgium, but few things are impossible,” summary Saturday, with irony, the belgian foreign minister, Didier Reynders, relieved.
as Soon as the agreement “intrabelge” concluded, the EU decided to beat the iron while it is still warm. It took a few hours Friday to get the green light of the other 27 member States, and then decide on the heels of organizing a new summit as soon as Sunday. After the signing ceremony, the treaty will be ratified by the Parliaments in europe and canada before entering the application in a partial and provisional.
The EU will then be faced with another mountain : its necessary ratification by the various national and regional Parliaments of the countries of the EU so that it becomes final. A task that, in the light of psychodrama belgian, is not going to be easy. The promotion campaign has already started: the Aacc is “an agreement modern and progressive, opening the door to new opportunities, while protecting important interests,” argued Robert Fico, the Slovak Prime minister (whose country ensures the rotating presidency of the EU). “In addition, it has the potential to define the way forward for future trade agreements”, he noted, while another trans-atlantic agreement, more ambitious but even more contested, the TTIP (or Tafta), negotiated with the United States. Another puzzle…