Sunday, 30 October 2016
Prime Minister Charles Michel wants to concentrate on what has been agreed about CETA, and not dwell on the difficulties of the days just before the signing. He thinks we avoided something that would have been bad for Europe and Belgium’s image. Vice Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs secretary Didier Reynders praised the constructive attitude and negotiation skills of President-Minister Paul Magnette while working on CETA. Mr Reynders spoke to VRT and Le Soir this week.
“It was an excellent collaboration between Mr Magnette and myself, apart from the last few days. He didn’t submit his amendments until Tuesday and Wednesday”, the Prime Minister said.
The EU had given Belgium until Monday to make its decision, even though the Canada summit was originally supposed to be on Thursday. It eventually happened on Sunday, after Belgian and European authorities managed to reach an agreement.
As it was only a three day delay, “there has been minimal impact”. But “the damage to Europe and Belgium would have been considerable” if things had been different, Mr Michel said. He is currently in Peking where he is discussing Belgian investment assets. Talks on CETA will continue during meetings between the Prime Minister and his Chinese hosts.