Belgian commissioner plays hardball with Wallonia

Marianne Thyssen, the Belgian on the European commission, has called time on Wallonia. Fleming Ms Thyssen (photo left) believes that it's now up to Belgium - or rather Wallonia - to accept or reject the CETA free trade accord between the EU and Canada.

Earlier the president of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, offered Wallonia fresh negotiations after the Belgian region blocked the member state from approving the CETA deal because it's worried about dispute settlement courts and the size of fines. Speaking on VRT TV Marianne Thyssen did not seem to think there was much point in further negotiations.

"This treaty has been the subject of years of negotiations. This week the EU provided a clear answer to all questions and concerns in a declaration that is legally binding."

Commissioner Thyssen believes it is now time for Belgium - or really Wallonia - to decide: "We've arrived at a point where we're saying this is the agreement. The ball's in your court."

"Everybody must take their responsibility. Across the world Belgium has a reputation as a country able to strike a sound compromise and build bridges. We should take care not to lose this. This can damage the image of Wallonia and our country."

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