- Title: Belgium keeps EU, Canada waiting over trade deal
- Date: 26th October 2016
- Summary: BRUSSELS, BELGIUM (OCTOBER 26, 2016) (REUTERS) ****WARNING CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY*** OFFICIAL RESIDENCE OF THE BELGIAN PRIME MINISTER, THE 'LAMBERMONT' BELGIAN FLAG MINISTER-PRESIDENT OF THE WALLOON GOVERNMENT, PAUL MAGNETTE, LEAVING AND SAYING (French): "You always ask us the same questions so we always give you the same answers. We're working." (SOUNDBITE) (French) MINISTER-PRESIDENT OF THE WALLOON GOVERNMENT, PAUL MAGNETTE, SAYING: "It will not be possible to hold the summit tomorrow but nothing is ever impossible." MINISTER-PRESIDENT OF BELGIUM'S GERMAN-SPEAKING COMMUNITY, OLIVER PAASCH, SPEAKING TO JOURNALISTS (SOUNDBITE) (German) MINISTER-PRESIDENT OF BELGIUM'S GERMAN-SPEAKING COMMUNITY, OLIVER PAASCH, SAYING: "We continued to work on the text but we had to conclude that no agreement was possible today. That's why we agreed to meet tomorrow at 10. Overnight there will be some legal analysis carried out. We will see whether an agreement is possible." BELGIAN FOREIGN MINISTER, DIDIER REYNDERS, SPEAKING TO JOURNALISTS (SOUNDBITE) (English) BELGIAN FOREIGN MINISTER, DIDIER REYNDERS, SAYING: "Next step, we're going to a new meeting tomorrow around 10:00 (0800 GMT) because we have one later, a meeting of all the ambassador at the European level. So, we will see if it's possible to go to a meeting at the European level with a Belgian position. And to do that, we need to receive a definitive answer from the different regions. All the texts are on the table and so we are waiting for them." REYNDERS LEAVING VEHICLE CARRYING BELGIAN PRIME MINISTER, CHARLES MICHEL, LEAVING SECURITY OFFICERS WALKING OUTSIDE BELGIAN PRIME MINISTER RESIDENCE SECURITY OFFICERS WALKING AWAY
- Embargoed: 10th November 2016 22:52
- Keywords: Belgium Europe EU Trade Agreement Canada Negotiations CETA Magnette Reynders Wallonia
- Location: BRUSSELS, BELGIUM
- City: BRUSSELS, BELGIUM
- Country: Belgium
- Topics: International Trade
- Reuters ID: LVA00155N9TFR
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Belgian politicians failed to break their deadlock over a planned EU-Canada free trade agreement on Wednesday (October 26), but agreed to resume talks on Thursday (October 27) in a sign they may be nearing a consensus that would keep the deal alive.
The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), seven years in the making, is backed by all 27 other EU governments but rejected by the French-speaking south of Belgium, meaning Belgium as a whole cannot sign it.
Prime Minister Charles Michel worked with the heads of Belgium's regions and linguistic communities to produce a common text to allay concerns about agricultural imports and a dispute settlement system that critics say could be abused by multinationals to dictate public policy.
Paul Magnette, Socialist premier of the Walloon region, which has led the opposition to the deal, said that a planned EU-Canada summit to sign the accord was unlikely.
Oliver Paasch, the head of Belgium's 76,000-strong German-speaking community, told reporters after a third joint meeting on Wednesday that some additional work would take place overnight.
The resumption of talks is set for 1000 CET (0800 GMT). Foreign Minister Didier Reynders said a meeting of ambassadors from other EU countries was set for an hour later.
European Council President Donald Tusk said earlier that a planned EU-Canada summit to sign the accord was still possible on Thursday, although the chances were waning.
Speaking earlier in Canada's parliament, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said: "We are confident that in the coming days we will see a positive outcome for this historic deal."
Belgium's centre-right government backs CETA as it stands, but its stance is only shared by the Dutch-speaking Flanders region, where a majority of Belgians live.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told the European Parliament he was optimistic there would be an agreement.
European Council President Tusk said that there would be consequences for Europe's global position if it failed to strike a free trade deal with Canada, "the most European country outside Europe and a close friend and ally".
Canada hopes the trade agreement will reduce its reliance on the United States as an export market.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None