Walloons are right to block CETA. If it doesn’t work for everyone, IT DOESN’T WORK

Belgian leader Charles Michel hosted his EU partners in Brussels last week [Image: AP].

Belgian leader Charles Michel hosted his EU partners in Brussels last week [Image: AP].

See the headline? That’s a message that seems to have bypassed the copy-writer at the BBC News website.

Why else would they be publishing unverifiable “facts” like the claim that, with 98 per cent of tariffs removed, the EU will make 500 million Euros per year, thanks to CETA? Did Mexico make a huge profit when it signed the NAFTA trade deal with the USA? Emphatically, it did not.

Other facts published by the BBC seem to suggest that Wallonia should suck it up and sign for everybody else’s good. After all, there are just 3.6 million people in the Belgian region, whereas 36.3 million Canadians and 508 million EU citizens are waiting for this deal, so they should sign in the interests of the many – right?

Wrong. If it isn’t in the interests of Wallonia, then it isn’t in the interests of the EU. Any deal has to benefit every nation state (including, in Belgium, the regions), leaving out none of them. Otherwise, it’s all off. And that’s just as well, considering what happened to Mexico.

And consider this: When Wallonia refused to sign at the weekend, did CETA’s architects offer to change any part of it – to reflect concerns over the “Investor-State Dispute Settlement” process that would allow corporations to sue nation states, perhaps? No.

On Sunday, the European Commission offered a new “clarification” to Wallonia, describing the mechanism for settling disputes.

The message was: “You clearly haven’t understood, so here it is in large print. We’re changing nothing. Sign.”

To which Wallonia, not unreasonably, just said: “No.”

Quite right, too.

Belgium cannot sign a key EU trade deal with Canada, Prime Minister Charles Michel says, because of objections from one of its regions, Wallonia.

His statement appeared to dash hopes the Ceta deal could be signed by EU leaders and Canada on Thursday.

It is the EU’s most ambitious free trade deal to date but Belgium needs the regions’ approval to sign it.

Mr Michel said he had told European Council President Donald Tusk that Belgium could not sign Ceta.

The European Commission had set Belgium a Monday deadline to make its decision on the deal agreed with Canada in 2014, after five years of negotiations.

Wallonia, a staunchly socialist region of 3.6m people, wants stronger safeguards on labour, environmental and consumer standards.

Its fears echo those of anti-globalisation activists, who say Ceta and deals like it give too much power to multinationals – power even to intimidate governments.

Source: Belgium Walloons block key EU Ceta trade deal with Canada – BBC News

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9 thoughts on “Walloons are right to block CETA. If it doesn’t work for everyone, IT DOESN’T WORK

  1. yarmouthboy

    Hurrah to the Walloons! I have said it before on other websites. What is the EU doing negotiating these Trade Deals in the first place? Do they have this remit? Why should EU be interested in furthering the trade of Canada? There doesn’t appear to be much benefit to EU countries only to multinational companies who want carte blanche to do what they like across the globe.

  2. Dez

    Not sure so many millions of citizens were waiting for this decision in fact I doubt if just a few of them had heard anything about it only now, just before sign off. Most of these trade deals have been held in secret with just a few key trades folk being involved. Certainly until this last minute situation I had not seen any details from the media and were not aware of such a major trade deal. Where were the regular key updates to the plebs as what was going on and how they might be affected by this trade deal. Maybe it was not seen as important enough for the media….until now when it became newsworthy to stir up trouble for the dissenting country. So regret, for my sins, I cannot be counted as one of the millions world wide waiting impatiently for this major Trade deal to come into being. I feel the dissenters did the EU a favour in actually getting some focus on the big poison pill in allowing commercial industries to run all over safety, environmental and health of the populations because the threat of litigation would give them an easy compensation ride if Countries started rejecting their products for good reasons. Pity there were absolutely no other countries which shows how political these decisions have become when common sense flows out the window. They will be back…greed never goes far away.

  3. Rusty

    BBC, based behind corporations I think it stands for! Our government and the mainstream media are selling us a dangerous trade deal and they know it, theirs a bbc programme tonight at 7:30 bbc1 about diabetes, please watch it the after watch this link https://youtu.be/ktQzM2IA-qU thank you and keep healthy!

  4. Michael Broadhurst

    why do governments think its a good deal for multinationals to have power to sue the self same governments ? i dont get it.

  5. Sven Wraight

    If corporations are persistently trying to pull stunts like NAFTA, TTIP, and CETA, then they need to be hamstrung.

  6. Pjay Mac

    The sooner we get it into our thick working class heads the People we are electing into positions of power are Corrupt self serving greedy Liars who care nothing about anything other than Power and Money and most importantly keeping us the plebiscites in their place they own the World we inhabit and all the good things in it and We the Worker Slave Ants get the Scraps this only happens because we allow and are totally Subservient to The New World Dystopian Elite

  7. Barry Davies

    It seems that one region of Belgium has more sense than the rest of the eu or maybe they were the only area that really heard about the deal without having to look for it.

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