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The Walloon parliament Friday voted by a large majority to reject the CETA deal, adding to the threat that the EU’s landmark agreement with Canada will be killed and undermining Brussels’ ability to steer the world’s biggest trade bloc.
“I don’t consider this as a funeral, I don’t consider this as a veto without any conditions,” Magnette said. “I consider this as a request to re-open negotiations so that European leaders could hear the legitimate demands which have been forcefully expressed by an organized, transparent civil society.”
...undermining Brussels’ ability to steer the world’s biggest trade bloc.
originally posted by: DerBeobachter
Please Walloons, stick with your decision and the people of europe will love and celebrate you forever!!!
Wallonia, the Belgian region taking the lead in its steadfast opposition to CETA, is doing us all a favour. For a start, they are exercising their democratic right to raise concerns about a proposed EU deal. One of the most important issues raised by Wallonia is how CETA would give power to foreign investors to sue governments for huge compensation if democratically agreed decisions to protect citizens or the environment interfere with their profits. Wallonia faces not only substantial financial liabilities, but also a serious impairment to its democratic decision-making powers. It is only normal that the region should have its say in this matter.
Secondly, the Walloon parliament has actually gone further than most other governments and parliaments in the EU: it seriously looked at the text of CETA and debated the pros and cons of such an agreement before taking a principled position. Sadly, similar criticism of CETA in Germany led to the drafting of an additional declaration to the agreement that acts as a palliative without addressing any of the issues raised, especially when it comes to the controversial investment chapter. Again, the Walloons are right to not be fooled by this PR exercise and remain steadfast in their opposition as long as their concerns are not answered properly.
The predictable scare-mongering by the political elite has already begun. They claim that if CETA fails then the EU would no longer be able to make such trade agreements in the future. But what if this was a good thing?
Negotiated under former prime minister Harper, one of Canada’s most conservative leaders in decades, the claims that CETA is the most progressive trade agreement ever made is total nonsense. At best, the agreement will just shift goods – and jobs – from one continent to another. In all likelihood, it will shift the balance of power away from democracy towards big corporations and traders. The intense debate of the last three years on TTIP and CETA shows these agreements do not stand up to the slightest bit of scrutiny. Nor do they deal with any of the pressing global issues.
If it takes the Walloon government to throw a spanner in the CETA works and create the political space for an open discussion on what Europe really needs, we fully support them. Wallonia will not just protect its 3 million inhabitants. It will also defend the interests of the vast majority of the EU’s 500 million citizens. Our European decision-makers should grasp this opportunity. Now is the chance for the EU to light the way ahead, reclaim social democracy and lead on establishing an economic system that contributes to a more equitable and sustainable world.