The Minister-President of the Walloon Region, Paul Magnette is “very, very happy” with progress made in the past weeks in amending the EU-Canada trade agreement (CETA). “This revised CETA is the new guide for future commercial treaties,” he stated Thursday to the Belga news agency after the Federal Government and federated entities reached an agreement on the Belgian position in relation to the treaty.
Paul Magnette had announced, before the Walloon Parliament, on October 14th, that he would not agree to delegating to the Federal Government the signing of the free-trade agreement between the EU and Canada, due to persisting objections. Two weeks of intense negotiations followed between Canadian, European and Belgian authorities.
“The negotiations were very, very difficult, with a lot of pressure, but we did not allow ourselves to be restricted to a timeline,” he mentioned.
The agreement reached Thursday at noon between the Federal Government and the federated entities constitutes simply the “final touches” of progress reached in the past two weeks in the agreement with Canada, in 35 joint declarations with the European Commission and an agreement within Belgium.
The main victory in his opinion is progress made regarding the mechanisms for the regulation of differences between investors and nations (International Court System, ICS).
“Nothing had been specified in the treaty regarding the judges. We requested that the highest standards be applied to them, specifically following those of the Court of Justice of the European Union,” stated the Minister-President. Walloons received assurance that the arbiters in charge of resolving litigation would not belong to the world of business.