The Walloon Minister-President, Paul Magnette, acknowledged yesterday (Tuesday) the difficulties for the federal government in implementing the fiercely negotiated intra-Belgian agreement in the autumn by Wallonia. This had to be agreed before giving Belgium the green light to sign CETA, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between the EU and Canada.
He commented yesterday (Tuesday) after the presentation of his work on last Autumn’s saga, “This is a complex issue.”
In giving the green light, Wallonia had in particular demanded that Belgium asked the European Court of Justice (ECJ) to rule upon certain aspects of the commercial agreement’s compliance with the European treaties, before any ratification of CETA.
These issues, which are due to be included in a report by the federal government, are currently subject to negotiations between the Walloon and federal governments.
Mr Magnette explained, “Some wish to limit the given issues whilst we wish to make them as extensive as possible.” He laments that, “Many (at federal level, editor’s note) continue to minimise” the relevance of the approach demanded by Wallonia.
He warned, “However, whilst we are awaiting the responses from the European Court, we will not ratify the agreement in full.” He also stated that the Walloons were not the most anxious to see the treaty applied in its entirety.
In front of journalists, the Minister-President recalled that Wallonia had only given the green light to the signature of CETA after receiving an undertaking that nineteen commitments would be embodied into the agreement. He concluded, “We want these provisions to be fully integrated into the agreement (…) otherwise we will not ratify the treaty.”