Free trade treaties – CETA: Juncker “high hopes for an agreement in Belgium today”

Free trade treaties – CETA: Juncker “high hopes for an agreement in Belgium today”
Everything hangs in the balance for finalising the remaining points for Belgium agreeing to CETA.© Belga

The President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, indicated today (Wednesday) that he has high hopes for an agreement in Belgium between the federal government and the regional governments across the country on CETA. During a debate at the European parliament in Strasbourg, Mr Juncker begged the question, “Will we be able to sign the agreement tomorrow?”

He responded to his own question, “We still cannot say, but what is significant, beyond the actual signature, is that Belgium reaches agreement”.

For his part, the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, stated “I hope that Belgium once again proves itself a champion of compromise.”

Tusk considered that “anything was possible” right up to the wire of the EU-Canada summit, anticipated for tomorrow (Thursday).

The coordination committee, bringing together representatives of the Belgian federal governments and the regional governments met today at 8 a.m., to scrutinize and consider the potential impact of CETA.

The Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Didier Reynders (of the MR), questioned upon his arrival, said that there remain one or two points to thrash out, “no more”. He commented that the aim is to return as quickly as possible to the European Union table.

However he went on to say that it is not in Wallonia’s interests for these outstanding discussion points to be played down.

At the time of writing, it is not yet known whether Belgium has reached agreement to sign the CETA.

The Brussels Times

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