"Avoid to become the laughing stock of Europe"

The Flemish PM Geert Bourgeois is calling on the Brussels and Walloon Regions to give up their objections against the so-called CETA trade deal between the EU and Canada. It turns out that all European member states want to give the deal the green light; with just the Brussels and Walloon parliament blocking it. Bourgeois can't understand this.

The CETA (Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement) between the EU and Canada has been designed to stimulate trade between Canada and the European Union. EU member states want to approve it this month, but the Brussels and Walloon parliament want to block it. Flanders already approved it some months ago.

Bourgeois can't comprehend why Brussels and Wallonia are going against the others: "I hope they reach a wise decision. I think it's even worse for Brussels. We venture out in the world together to attract new businesses, to say 'come and invest with us', to promote our export..."

"And then you have this very good agreement with Canada, and you see that within the EU, Brussels and Wallonia are the only ones that may block it. This is not only bad for us, but we could the laughing stock of Europe." Bourgeois says Belgium is heading for a "diplomatic flop", and this in a city of diplomats like Brussels.

Social dumping?

Most Francophone parties in the Brussels and Walloon Region (except for the liberals of the MR, the party of Charles Michel) are afraid the deal will give the companies too much power, and this at the expense of social and environmental standards imposed by the EU.

The Francophone socialists (PS), greens (Ecolo) and Christian democrats (CDH) are bound to vote against the deal again. "Yes, we want more exports, but not against any price. Yes to economic development, but not if that means social dumping, a practice that is being denounced by everyone at present", Olga Zhiren (PS) warned. 

The deal is also not 100% sure in a couple of east-European countries.