The Government of Quebec called yesterday (Sunday) for Wallonia to authorize the signature of the global economic and commercial agreement between Canada and the European Union, known as the CETA (the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement). In a communiqué, the Prime of Quebec, Philippe Couillard, indicated, “I sincerely hope that the wisdom of the Walloon authorities prevails to ensure that Wallonia does not, through its action, block Belgium’s adoption of the CETA.”
The Prime further declared, “The CETA is an unparalleled progressive and modern agreement, which will benefit workers and businesses on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.”
He further stated, “We wish that the authorities in Wallonia grasp the hand of their partners urgently, with the aim of reaching a consensus favourable to the prosperity of our economies.”
He went on, “It is true that this agreement does, indeed, centre upon prosperity. Opening up markets creates jobs. Closing markets (protectionism), has the opposite effect, in addition affecting, to a greater extent, the most deprived individuals in society.”
He concluded, “This is why, in the name of the mutually beneficial friendship which has linked us to French-speaking Belgium, for more than 40 years, Quebec entreats that we together choose the path of openness and trust.”
Moreover, the government of Quebec recalled that seven years of negotiations were required to produce “a document meeting the requirements of all parties” for the EU countries.
The government of Quebec also stressed that the interpretative declaration, a document drawn up to respond to the concerns of certain European states, may yet be modified in response to the concerns of the Walloon parliament.
European ministers are theoretically due to meet tomorrow (October 18th) to sign the treaty in Luxembourg.
This will give a mandate to the President of the European Council to approve it in the name of the 28 member states during the next EU Canada summit on October 27th.
However, the Walloon deputies, on Friday, approved a motion requesting the Walloon Executive not to delegate power to the Walloon government to sign the draft treaty.