The EU’s once-mighty trade negotiators never dreamed that their powers would be stripped from them so unceremoniously — and possibly for good.The fact that these deals have become increasingly more difficult to pass, and as such will become far more limited in scope.
The Francophone parliament of the Federation of Wallonia-Brussels — only 10 minutes’ walk from EU headquarters — stands to win a place in history for sinking the EU’s landmark trade deal with Canada and potentially for scuppering the European Commission’s ability to lead the world’s biggest trade bloc for many years.
Failure to conclude the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) by this month’s deadline would be a devastating blow to the EU, which has spent seven years working on the tariff-slicing agreement with Ottawa.
The Federation of Wallonia-Brussels parliament, which focuses on the cultural and educational concerns of 4.5 million French speakers in Belgium, voted Wednesday evening to reject CETA because of worries about public services and agriculture. Laetitia Naklicki, a spokesperson for Minister-President Rudy Demotte, said this vote meant that the government of the French-speaking community “would not issue its full power for signing CETA to the federal government.”
Unless the Belgian central government can find an imaginative compromise quickly, the EU will be unable to corral the signatures of all 28 EU countries before an EU-Canada summit on October 27. The pressure on Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel is only likely to increase Friday, when another regional assembly, Wallonia, also voted against CETA.
Under Belgium’s complex constitution, all five regional governments must approve the trade deal before the federal government can give consent.
This is a good thing.
I really do hope that this is the start of a trend.
The increasing investment of authority in anti-democratic institutions has been a disaster for everyone but the elites staff, and directly benefit from, those institustions.