Oct 21, 2016

By Bob Komsic

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International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland’s walked out of talks in Brussels after the leaders of the Belgian region of Wallonia refused to sign the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).
(Reuters / VRT Belgium Video)
A disappointed Freeland says ”It’s become evident for me, for Canada, that the European Union isn’t capable now to have an international treaty even with a country that has very European values like Canada.  And even with a country so nice, with a lot of patience like Canada.”
The president of Wallonia says talks would continue but has called for the EU Canada summit scheduled for next week to be postponed to allow for more time for negotiations.
And an EU source in Ottawa says it does not consider this the end of the process.
The European Commission, not Wallonia directly, is overseeing negotiations with Canada on Belgium’s behalf.
But since Belgium’s constitution gives regional governments a role in trade agreements, the region of a few million has ended up with a veto over a deal that impacts more than 500-million citizens of Europe.
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