Free Trade

Socialist Regional Government in Belgium Torpedoes EU-Canada Free Trade Deal

Would be the first EU trade deal with a G-7 country.

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Wiktor Dabkowski / ZUMA Press / Splash News/Newscom

The European Union has failed to get approval for a trade deal with Canada (CETA) after one of the five regional governments in Belgium rejected the deal, which would have been the first the EU struck with a country in the G-7. The other 27 member states of the EU all consented to the deal.

All the other member countries approved the trade deal, but Belgium's federal government needed approval from its regional parliament and the French-speaking socialist government in Wallonia refused to endorse it, citing concerns about its impact on employment and consumer safety. It also claimed the deal jeopardized "social and environmental standards and the protection of public services" and objected to non-government arbitration.

The Belgian federal government held a crisis meeting of regional leaders, where Paul Magnette, the minister-president of Wallonia, said his government would not budge. "Every time you try to put an ultimatum it makes a calm debate and a democratic debate impossible," Magnette told reporters in Brussels. "We don't need an ultimatum. We will not decide anything under an ultimatum or under pressure."

An EU-Canada summit was planned for Thursday, where Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was supposed to sign the accord. His trip to Brussels may be delayed if the EU can't secure Belgium's support for the deal before then.

The EU and Canada have been negotiating the trade deal for seven years. If the EU is unable to approve it, it will call into question negotiations with Japan and the United States, both of which have been ongoing since 2013, and more broadly the EU's ability to operate as a cohesive free trade bloc that can enter into trade agreements with other countries and blocs.

Anti-free trade parties have been on the rise across Europe as America's major party presidential candidates have also embraced anti-free trade rhetoric and policies despite its crucial role in increased prosperity worldwide.

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  1. Those damn Canadians and their hyper free-market dog-eat-dog economics with absolutely no workers’ protections are the real problem. Right comrades?

  2. So much for affordable poutine in Europe.

  3. You know who else favored protectionist trade policies?

    1. Those greenish dudes in Star Wars who talked like China-men.

      1. ^Xenophobic

        1. Is that what they were called? Yeah, them, the Xenophobics, I guess from Xenophob. Totally sounded like Japs or something.

      1. America is not a person.

        1. You’ve taken the see something, say something campaign to heights I never imagined.

        2. Ms. Ferrera begs to differ.

          1. I stand corrected. Paul is clearly better informed than I am about the economic policy preferences of celebrities.

        3. But he literally is…

          en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amerigo_Vespucci

    2. Senator Smoot and Congressman Hawley?

    3. Johnny Fuckerfaster?

  4. I take it Prime Minister Zoolander didn’t send Quebecois to negotiate with their fellow outcast minority that speaks a bastardized form of French? That’s too bad!

      1. You know how you Americans have Robby’s Hair? Zoolander’s Hair is in charge up here.

    1. Nope, he sent a grade-A idiot

      “Canada worked really hard, and me personally, I worked very hard,” she said in French, expressing Canada’s disappointment ? as well as her own ? at this turn of events.

      “It’s become evident for me, for Canada, that the European Union isn’t capable now to have an international treaty even with a country that has very European values like Canada. And even with a country so nice, with a lot of patience like Canada.”

      Rufus had some more on her in AM links, and PM links last Friday.

      1. “Like, I just can’t even with Belgium anymore.”

      2. Chrystia Freeland is yet another in a long line of “public intellectuals” that Canada keeps churning out that are embarrassing sh!tnozzles with the approximate IQ of a microcephalous amoeba.

        My country has a lot of smart people in it. For one thing, they’re smart enough never to be associated with our “public intellectuals.”

        1. I also note Maude Barlow and The Council of Canadians (i.e., Maude Barlow) had a hand in torpedoing the negotiations. Figures. Everything that woman touches turns to faeces.

      3. Oh wow… never heard of her. Just read her bio. Why is it that progressives put so much thrust and so much responsibilities in people that are clearly so unqualified? ”Yeah but she was a financial journalist!” Yeah, isn’t that a sign that she can’t tell the difference between ask and offer? I’ve watched Scrubs and probably can write some episodes reviews, can I be a doctor now? Oh and let’s send someone that is “conversant” in french out of a country with at least 5 millions people that do speak the damn language.

  5. I’m listening to my local city council right now extolling rent control, a foreign real estate tax (acknowledging it might look racist) and a tax on Wall Street transactions. Convince me socialism isn’t ascendant.

    1. When the host asked the council man why our real estate looked attractive to the Chinese, he responded that they may be looking for a safe haven from their communist government. He said this without any irony whatsoever.

      1. “They wanna get away from communism, huh? We’ll show ’em!”

      2. You don’t even know what communism means!

      3. Dammit, host, he served it right up!

        “OK so why are they coming here? They don’t like rightward deviations of the current Chinese regime?”

    2. Hey, but we live longer and we don’t have dictators. You can’t have everything. So we just accept three small, undeclared wars at any given time, prisons stuffed with leaf smokers. 24/7 surveillance, and collectivism to the extreme via debt (the different kind governments have) and massively underfunded entitlements at every governmental level.

      Though I would like to correct “ascendant” to “nearly end-game complete”. But the continued good news about it is that it is that “good kind” of socialism. The kind that never descends into brutality when its economic model eventually erodes when it runs out of other people’s money. We’ve never seen this good kind in the history of mankind, we just have to continue to accept on faith that this is what we have.

      1. “Though I would like to correct “ascendant” to “nearly end-game complete”. But the continued good news about it is that it is that “good kind” of socialism. The kind that never descends into brutality when its economic model eventually erodes when it runs out of other people’s money. We’ve never seen this good kind in the history of mankind, we just have to continue to accept on faith that this is what we have.”

        We have the right people in charge, it’s going to work this time.

      2. The kind that never descends into brutality when its economic model eventually erodes when it runs out of other people’s money.

        UK in 1979, when Thatcher came to power and turn a sclerotic socialist country on its way to Venezuela of today into a reasonably healthy economy (healthy enough to mostly survive 13 years of Blair and Brown).

    3. Ahahah! Finally! You bastards are copying OUR shitty ideas instead of the other way around!

    4. a foreign real estate tax (acknowledging it might look racist) [?] Convince me socialism isn’t ascendant.

      Because it’s more fascist than socialist?

      1. State control is state control.

  6. The good news is that this hopefully might further encourage Brexit-type moves from the other large economies in Europe.

    1. It certainly lends credence to the Brexiteers who claimed they don’t need the EU to have trade deals. If anything, it shows that individual countries are better off without EU managed trade agreements.

      1. They’re certainly better off without the meddling jackasses in Brussels. I mean, don’t they already have enough meddling jackasses in their own countries? If not, we should help them out by sending some of ours. We could start with Congress.

    2. You know who else has initials J.B. and is Canada-related?

    3. You mean the Germans? Are there any other countries in Europe that have any money left that didn’t come from Germany? The Germans are too busy importing Muslims and killing the internal combustion engine to worry about any silly Brexit stuff. Someone has to finance the EU and since France is pretty much gone as a first world country, Germany is all that’s left.

      1. You know who else thought of Germany as the most important country in Europe?

        1. The last roman Emperor?

          1. Constantine XI Dragas? I doubt he was thinking much of Germans – last time one of them tried to help, he drowned on his way.

        2. Kaiser Wilhelm II?

          1. Total fucking dipshit. If he had been anything like his father, England could very well have been fighting WITH Germany AGAINST France and Russia. (Either way, Austria-Hungary as a dominant force was on its way out.) And frankly, I think the world would have been a hell of lot better off.

            1. Well no, if he were anything like his father, he’d have fought WITH Russia, against Austria and France. Bismarck fucking told him, there’s no reason to go into conflict with Russia, it’s much more useful as an ally or at most, friendly neutral. But oh no, dipshit wanted True Germanic Aryans to defeat the Subhuman Slav Hordes. Just like you know who else…

        3. Willy Wonka?

        4. Carl Hunngus?

  7. They’re definitely not waffling on this issue.

    1. Are they afraid of maple syrup? Is that considered heathenable in Walloonia?

    2. Where is Swiss when we really need him?

  8. Are the Belgians afraid the Canadians might start undercutting their prices for unnecessary bureaucratic regimes?

    1. It seems like they were just striking a blow against mumble mumble.

      1. Justin Bieber. That’s who you mean, isn’t it?

        1. It seems to be a muddled mess of anti-GMO, anti-neoliberalism panic, some nonsense about worker safety (because tariffs ensure worker safety somehow, possibly by magic) and the return of the repressed in form of a bunch of nobodies stopping something just because they can.

          Reading the anti-CETA stuff gave me an assache.

  9. They’re just worried that Canadians will come with the deal. You can’t blame them.

    1. A horde of floppy-headed, puck-slapping, syrup-eating flannel jockeys appears on the horizon. “Sore-y!” one of them shouts.

      1. “syrup-eating flannel jockeys”

        That’s horrifying.

  10. “Zay have tooken ore non-xizitant joobs!”

  11. Why did it take until 2016 for the EU’s very first trade deal with an outside G7 country to get proposed, and then get torpedoed? Sunk by one of the EU’s worst economically performing regions, no less.

    1. The wheels of eu bureaucracy turn slowly.

  12. Paul Magnette, the minister-president of Wallonia, said his government would not budge. “Every time you try to put an ultimatum it makes a calm debate and a democratic debate impossible,” Magnette told reporters in Brussels. “We don’t need an ultimatum. We will not decide anything under an ultimatum or under pressure.”

    Socialist says, “No ultimatum for you!”

  13. We are all Wallonians now.

    1. Walloons. Not to be confused with pantaloons, the citizens of Pantelonia.

  14. RE: Socialist Regional Government in Belgium Torpedoes EU-Canada Free Trade Deal
    Would be the first EU trade deal with a G-7 country.

    The socialist regional government in Belgium is only protecting their constituents from the perils of capitalism, financial freedom and having more money in the little people’s pockets.
    Isn’t that what socialism is all about?
    This way, the unwashed masses in Belgium will stay on the socialist plantation and live miserably ever after.

  15. Paul Magnette, the minister-president of Wallonia, said his government would not budge. “Every time you try to put an ultimatum it makes a calm debate and a democratic debate impossible,” Magnette told reporters in Brussels. “We don’t need an ultimatum. We will not decide anything under an ultimatum or under pressure.”

    An ultimatum to Flint, MI, worked for the Karegnondi Water Authority.

  16. The EU and Canada have been negotiating the trade deal for seven years. If the EU is unable to approve it, it will call into question negotiations with Japan and the United States,

    None of that matters. Not one little bit.

    If Canada, the US, and Japan want *free trade* all they need to do is remove the barriers on their side of the border. That’s it. No need for government negotiations or any involvement by these governments. Simply remove the barriers on their side and let the individual businesses that think they can make money dealing with the EU deal with their own negotiations.

    Any barriers or other hijinks the EU get up to (including ‘dumping’ or subsidizing export production) only hurts the EU.

    ONLY. HURTS. THE. EU.

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