Sunday, October 23, 2016

Aacc : Wallonia, “disappointed”, still does not seem ready to sign – The Point

This is the last ultimatum european. Belgium has until Monday evening to say whether or not she can sign the free trade treaty with Canada (Ceta), blocked by Wallonia, failing which, the summit signature expected on Thursday in Brussels will be cancelled. Belgium is the only country of the 28 EU could not for the moment sign the Ceta, an agreement negotiated during 7 years for more than 500 million Europeans. But Wallonia, French-speaking region of southern Belgium 3.6 million inhabitants, has even blocked the negotiations on Sunday by rejecting the ultimatum of the EU.

the head of The government of wallonia, Paul Magnette, considers that such an ultimatum is not compatible with the democratic process”, said to the Agence France-Presse spokesman. In addition, the French-speaking region was “disappointed” by a new proposal passed on Sunday by the european Commission on the protection of investments. “It gives us a disappointing document and at the same time it gives us an ultimatum. It is very amazing. This inspires us to ask questions about the purpose pursued”, said the entourage of the head of the government of wallonia, Paul Magnette.

Decision on the summit on Monday

The european Union and Canada will decide on Monday evening if they hold the summit of signing the free trade treaty Ceta, expected on Thursday in Brussels, told the Agence France-Presse a source european. “Tomorrow afternoon/evening [...] the president of the european Council, Donald Tusk, will have a telephone conversation with the Prime minister of canada, Justin Trudeau, to decide if they maintain the “summit”, announced that source Sunday. “Concerning the date of Thursday, if Belgium is not in a position to say if she can guarantee that she will sign, it is very clear to Donald Tusk that it makes no sense to have a summit, and there will be no summit and no set date for a new summit,” continued the source. “This decision will be taken by common agreement between Donald Tusk and Justin Trudeau,” she added. It “will depend on a lot of what the belgian Prime minister, Charles Michel, said Donald Tusk,” said the source.

Before speaking to Justin Trudeau, prime minister Donald Tusk has had a ” telephone conversation with Charles Michel, who will have to say if Belgium is in a position to sign or not the agreement on Thursday “, according to the source. “At the belgian level, negotiations are ongoing. Is scheduled for Monday afternoon a meeting of the ” comité de concertation+ (which includes all the federated entities of Belgium, the French-speaking, Dutch-speaking and the German-speaking, as well as the federal government, editor’s note) to make the point,” said a spokesman for the belgian Prime minister to the AFP.

Donald Tusk, who is president of the body representing the 28 member States of the EU, also confer by phone with the president of the european Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker for making the point of the situation Monday. In addition, the european Commission services have forwarded Sunday morning to two texts – obtained by AFP – the head of the walloon government, the socialist Paul Magnette, and the permanent representative of Belgium to the EU, according to an eu diplomat.

” Not possible to sign “, according to Elio Di Rupo

The first text of a page and a half contains a draft of a possible declaration of the Kingdom of Belgium concerning the protection of investments “, which contains all the reservations which Paul Magnette has “, explained the diplomat. This question is indeed one of the most sensitive of the AACC : it relates to the possibility given to the multinational corporations investing in a foreign country can bring a complaint against a State adopting a public policy contrary to their interests. The treaty provides for the creation of a permanent court composed of 15 judges appointed by the EU and Canada, all of the hearings would be public. But the NGOS believe that this concession does not go far enough and fear that these “pseudo-judges” are lawyers business related to private firms. And Paul Magnette has repeated Friday – day Belgium and the EU, hoping for a ” yes “wallon – that” there were difficulties about it.”

The second text, sent to Paul Magnette is a ” questions/answers of a few pages, which answers, in a language understandable to all questions asked by the walloon Parliament, according to the same diplomat. The two documents sent to Paul Magnette should be then submitted to the Parliament of Wallonia, specifically in front of the commission in charge of european Affairs of the regional assembly for approval.

In an interview Sunday on the belgian television station RTL, the leader of the socialist Party (PS) French-speaking belgian and ex-belgian Prime minister, Elio Di Rupo, who is from the same party, Paul Magnette, said : “I do not believe that it is possible to sign the Aacc on Thursday. “Wallonia sees in the Aacc and the first fruits of the treaty TTIP (or Tafta), very unpopular, as the EU negotiates very laboriously with the United States, and calls for more safeguards in the face of powerful multinational corporations.


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