CETA agreement and Wallonia

ceta_signIn August I wrote about the CETA agreement, that is a proposal for a free trade between Canada and the EU

(http://www.valeriocirella.com/2016/08/21/ceta-agreement-eu-canada/).

Few days ago I was surprised reading, on an important international financial newspaper, that the Treaty could not be signed by EU due to uncertainties of the “small” regional Parliament of Wallonia (the French-speaking Belgian region with 4 million inhabitants) which stops the ratification of the Belgian Parliament (I remember that to be valid the agreement must be ratified by the all EU states).

As this agreement will impact on the lives of European and Canadian citizens (costs and origin of goods and future scenarios) I wanted to do a little analysis.

To protect the strategic agricultural sector, Wallonia wants simply be reassured about two main points:

  1. Quality of Canadian goods must be in line with those in Europe, to avoid being penalized by unfair competition.
  2. Creating an impartial and transparent courts and that the agreement does not represent a loophole for American multinationals, based in Canada, that can use the agreement to sue European governments.

I must also remember that no European country has submitted this agreement to a popular referendum (at least so far). Minimising the issue, or point the finger at a small region, it does not seem correct in my view. We should thank this region instead, because it has generated a popular debate, discussed his points with a big country like Canada, which has recognized the demands.

In fact, diplomatic actions, clarifications between Belgium and Canada and tweaks to the Treaty made possible the ratification by the Belgium Parliament. On October 30, 2016 the agreement CETA was signed between Canada and the EU.

Maybe mine is just a feeling but I believe that this agreement lays the basis for an extension in many years from now, which will include the free movement of people, labour and … the creation of one currency.

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