CETA: German court gives govt green light for Canada-EU trade deal
Oct 16 2016 by Desiree Burns
WARSAW, Poland (AP) - Hundreds of people protested Saturday in Warsaw against free-trade agreements that the European Union is pursuing with the US and Canada, saying they will hurt Polish farmers and consumers.
EXCLUSIVE/ The European Commission faces an EU court battle to keep secret its lawyers' analysis on whether the controversial investor-state-dispute (ISDS) clause in draft trade deals with the U.S. and Canada is illegal.
A major obstacle to CETA remains in Belgium, where the parliament of the French-speaking region of Wallonia backed a motion on Friday to keep the federal government from signing the deal.
But judges said the plaintiffs would not suffer any "serious disadvantages" if the deal was provisionally approved.
The following week, Trudeau is to meet his European Union counterparts at a summit in Brussels where the two sides are expected to sign the deal.
"At the highest level in different capitals, including the president of the European Union Commission, they all are trying to convince the Walloon government to take into account the situation and not to say 'No, ' " a European official said.
Paul Magnette, the Wallonia leader, said Friday his region would not give Belgium's national government the support it needs when the EU's 28-member states meet next week.
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The German government can agree to the deal at an European Union ministerial meeting next week as long as it guarantees that any implementation of the agreement can be revoked in case of an adverse final ruling in the cases.
Magnette said that "the guarantees are insufficient" and demanded further talks. The pact would cut trade barriers between the EU's market of more than 500 million people and Canada, the world's 10th-biggest economy.
"I don't want to think about the consequences that could have for Europe", he said.
"We need to return to the negotiating table", he said.
"In this post-Brexit situation where there are a great many questions about Europe's usefulness, if Europe can not manage to sign this agreement, then that sends a very clear message not just to Europe, but to the whole world, that Europe is choosing a path that is not productive for its citizens or the world". If they unanimously approve it, the deal could be signed with Canada on October 27.
On Thursday, Germany's Constitutional Court gave the go-ahead for the government to approve CETA, despite arguments from opponents saying the deal undermines democratic rights.
But resistance to new trade deals is strong, with the former coal and steel powerhouse of Wallonia just one of many European regions where economic globalization, with its shift of jobs to Asia, is mistrusted.