Prime Minister Paul Magnette of Wallonia praised on Friday the transparency that reigned in international climate negotiations in Marrakech, commenting that it contrasted with the secrecy and “opacity” surrounding talks on agreements like the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the European Union (EU) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). “The Paris Agreement is the anti-CETA from the point of view of its method,” Magnette told the Belgian news agency, Belga, in Marrakech as the 22nd UN Conference on Climate (COP 22) came to an end in the Moroccan city.
The transparency of climate talks has proved effective, with the adoption of the Paris Agreement, the first universal climate agreement, that entered into effect on the November 4, 2016, and has been ratified by 111 countries, Prime Minister Magnette said.
He stressed that within the framework of climate talks, the European Commission (EC) organizes regular intra-European coordination meetings with delegations from member-States and holds them daily during a COP. On the other hand, he said, at negotiations on trade treaties, the same Commission limits itself to “mock” consultations with civil society. “The (EC) Director-General for Trade would do well to learn from the Director-General for the Environment,” Magnette said.
During the COP, which came just a few weeks after Wallonia’s opposition – later lifted – to the CETA, Magnette seized the opportunity to meet Quebec’s Prime Minister Philippe Couillard. “He thanked Wallonia for making it possible to improve the CETA,” Wallonia’s Prime Minister said, adding that the difficulties had arisen within the EU but never with Canada.
Wallonia’s stand prior to the signing of the CETA seemed to have been appreciated as far afield as the Amazon region since Paul Magnette received on Friday a letter signed by the leader of the Kichwa people of Sarayaku. In it, the Amazonian leader expressed his “admiration” for Wallonia’s decision, which he described as a “rampart” and an “example of dignity in the defence of democratic and constitutional principles for safeguarding an equitable economic balance”.