for The Belgians getting in his signature for several weeks, after many disagreements, internal and tens of meetings. Finally, the AACC has been signed on Sunday.
the EU and Canada have signed this Sunday in Brussels treaty of free trade (CETA), delayed by sharp disagreements internal to the belgians, an episode which makes uncertain the next step: ratification required by each of the different Parliaments of the countries of the Union. “Patience!”, has launched the president of the european Commission Jean-Claude Juncker the Prime minister of canada Justin Trudeau to his arrival shortly after noon at the headquarters of the Council of the EU.
“The difficult things are difficult, but we were able to succeed,” said Trudeau. “Well played!”, he also said to the president of the Council Donald Tusk. Has the outside of the building, a few dozen demonstrators chanted slogans hostile to the AACC, and brandished placards. The signature could be further delayed: this morning, the flight of the canadian Prime minister has been delayed for an hour and a half due to a problem of plane technique from Ottawa!
” [But in fact] that the treaty provides for free trade between Canada and the EU?
” That got the Belgians on the AACC?
The AACC, which aims mainly to remove tariffs with a country friend, representing 1.6% of its imports and 2.0% of its exports, has faced these last days in a runaway policy and a dramatization of the issues surrounding his signature. It all started in Belgium, more precisely of one of its regions, French-speaking Wallonia (3.6 million people), of which the Parliament has refused to approve the AACC, as provided for in the Constitution. In the absence of consensus belgian, impossible to get an agreement for the EU, which has seen its credibility undermined. If “Europe is unable to sign a commercial agreement progressive with a country like Canada, with which Europe think-does it make business in the years to come?”, has tancé Justin Trudeau.
Become the voice of the opponents to the AACC, the Walloons feared the consequences of the treaty on agriculture. They were largely concerned with the possibility for a multinational company to attack a State that would adopt a public policy contrary to its interests. Not left to a court of private arbitrate these disputes, have repeated the anti-CETA walloons, demanding guarantees, without which they do not grant them carte blanche to belgian federal government. The slowness of the “discussions” led to the cancellation of a summit with Canada expected on Thursday in Brussels.
A compromise agreement belgian eventually fell on Thursday mid-day, a few pages, which will be amended to the treaty. A “AACC fix (…) is more just than the old AACC”, targué the head of the walloon government, the socialist Paul Magnette. No change, in fact: statements reiterating the provisions already included in the treaty, advances in the mode of appointment of judges of the arbitration court, and the announcement by the Belgium, she will ask the Court of justice of the EU (CJEU) to verify the compliance of that court with the european law.
“Nothing is easy in Belgium, but few things are impossible,” summary Saturday, with irony, the belgian foreign minister, Didier Reynders, relieved. As soon as the agreement “intrabelge” concluded, it only took a few hours to EU on Friday to get the green light of the other 27 member States, and then organize this new summit. After the signing ceremony, the treaty will be ratified by the Parliaments in europe and canada before entering the application in a partial and provisional. The EU will then be faced with another mountain: its necessary ratification by the various national and regional Parliaments of its member States, in order for it to become final. A task that, in the light of psychodrama belgian, looks delicate.
The promotional campaign has already begun: the AACC is “an agreement modern and progressive, opening the door to new opportunities, while protecting important interests,” argued Robert Fico, the Slovak Prime minister, whose country ensures the rotating presidency of the EU. “It has the potential to define the way forward for future trade agreements”, he noted, while another trans-atlantic agreement, although more ambitious but even more contested, the TTIP (or Tafta), negotiated with the United States. Another puzzle.