CETA: Magnette considers that it will be “very difficult” for Wallonia to come to a decision by Friday.
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    CETA: Magnette considers that it will be “very difficult” for Wallonia to come to a decision by Friday.

    © Belga
    Paul Magnette senses that Wallonia is unlikely to give the green light to CETA by Friday.
    © Belga

    The Walloon Minister-President, Paul Magnette, considered yesterday evening (Wednesday) that it would be “very very difficult” for the region reach a decision by Friday. This is on the free trade treaty between the European Union and Canada (the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement – CETA).

    However he added that “nothing was impossible in politics,” following a meeting with the European Commissioner for Trade, Cecilia Malmström.

    On Tuesday, Belgium had been unable to confirm its support for the treaty, owing to the refusal of French-speaking political parties in Wallonia to delegate the power to sign the agreement to federal level.

    The European Executive then entreated Belgium to reach a decision by Friday, a deadline turned down by Paul Magnette on Tuesday evening.

    On Wednesday, the Walloon Minister-President met with the Canadian Minister of International Trade canadienne, Chrystia Freeland, before meeting Ms Malmström.

    Mr Magnette explained, “I simply repeated the issues that we have with CETA, hoping that the Commission will come up, as quickly as possible, with proposals to meet our demands.”

    He stated, “If the European Commission comes up with swift and robust proposals responding to our requests, we will examine them very seriously and I will put them before parliament.”

    He concluded, “It is a very short window for Friday and I will not be forced into the position of sticking rigidly to any ultimatum or timetable.”

    Oscar Schneider
    The Brussels Times