June 18, 2018

EU ‘not capable’ of signing Canada deal


A trade deal between the EU and Canada is on the brink of collapse after talks between Canada and a Belgian region broke down on Friday.
Canada’s Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland left the talks in Brussels, saying the EU was “not capable” of signing a trade deal even with Canada.
Talks on the deal began in 2009. Belgium, the only country blocking agreement, needed consent from the regional parliament of Wallonia.
The deal was to be signed next week.
Speaking outside the seat of the Walloon government, Ms Freeland told reporters: “It seems evident for me and for Canada that the European Union is not now capable of having an international accord even with a country that has values as European as Canada.”
She added: “Canada is disappointed, but I think it is impossible.”
It was unclear whether the EU would keep negotiating with Wallonia in coming days to solve the impasse.
Wallonia – with just 3.6m people – sees the accord, Ceta, as a threat to farmers and welfare standards.
The region has a strong socialist tradition. Its fears echo those of anti-globalisation activists, who say Ceta and deals like it give too much power to multinationals – power even to intimidate governments.
There have also been big demonstrations in several EU countries against Ceta and the TTIP trade talks with the US.sf

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