- Title: Threatened EU-Canada trade deal main topic on second day of EU summit
- Date: 21st October 2016
- Summary: BRUSSELS, BELGIUM (OCTOBER 21, 2016) (REUTERS) EXTERIOR OF EUROPEAN UNION COUNCIL POLICE VEHICLE PARKED OUTSIDE EUROPEAN COUNCIL EUROPEAN COUNCIL BANNER ON FACADE
- Embargoed: 5th November 2016 08:52
- Keywords: EU summit CETA trade Michel Grybauskaite Roivas Juncker May Brexit
- Location: BRUSSELS, BELGIUM
- City: BRUSSELS, BELGIUM
- Country: Belgium
- Topics: European Union
- Reuters ID: LVA00154Y5JK7
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:EU leaders gathered in Brussels on Friday (October 21) for the second day of a summit, with trade agreements the main topic on the agenda.
EU leaders will discuss a planned EU-Canada free trade agreement which was rejected by a Belgian regional parliament and requires unanimous support from the bloc's 28 member states to be implemented.
Almost all 28 EU governments now back the deal, which would be the bloc's first trade accord with a G7 country, and it is scheduled to be signed at an EU-Canada summit attended by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on October 27.
But Belgium's Prime Minister Charles Michel cannot approve CETA without support from assemblies representing the country's three regions and three linguistic communities, and the Walloon government voted on October 14 to reject the agreement. The region also rejected amendments put forward on Thursday (October 20).
"I had contact overnight with (Canadian Prime Minister) Justin Trudeau, going over the different ways to try to end this difficult situation with a win-win solution. We are facing the Walloon government's stance, which at this stage is refusing to give its agreement. Negotiations are ongoing, as we speak, we are closely monitoring the situation. I am not completely reassured at this stage. I don't want to say anything that will pour fuel on the fire right now, anything that could block an agreement. Rather the opposite, if the door is almost closed on our options, we must do our best to give a chance to a solution and find a win-win solution," Michel said as he arrived for the summit.
Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite said both sides were guilty of the impasse in implementing the agreement.
"I think that partly we are hostages of internal politics of one country and another thing is of course the process, how open and transparent the process of negotiations was held," she told reporters.
Estonian President Taavi Roivas said he hoped to walk away on Friday with an agreement over Canada.
The summit is the first of British Prime Minister Theresa May since she was appointed premier following Britain's June 23 vote to exit the bloc.
May, who replaced David Cameron in July after Britons shocked the EU by voting to leave the bloc, spelled out her vision for Brexit at a dinner with her 27 counterparts on Thursday evening.
She will later hold a meeting with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, who described the prime minister as "charming".
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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