One of the three official regions of Belgium has adopted a resolution which could derail the signing of a mammoth free trade deal between the EU and Canada.
The parliament in the region of Wallonia voted to block the signature of the CETA agreement and demanded it be renegotiated.
Bigdayin Namur as Parliamentin WalloniadebateCanada EU tradedeal. Looks liketheyare set to vote No. pic.twitter.com/Ht0dscXxoU— Paul Waldie(@pwaldieGLOBE) October 14, 2016
- 63 in favour of block
- 46 against
- 16 abstained
“‘Yes’ to the strengthening of commercial links with Canada..but no to the text of the deal in its current form,” Socialist deputy *Olga Zrihen*said at the opening of the often-rowdy debate.
Belgium’s foreign minister warned the four million inhabitants of Wallonia that they risked being isolated from from the rest of Europe if they did not sign up to CETA.
“Only Wallonia is against the deal,” said Didier Reynders, “the French Socialists, the Italians and the German Social-Democrats are in favour.”
“It makes me worry about the future of Europe,” the politically-liberal Reynders added, saying that “Canada is the closest to Europe” when it comes to social and environmental issues, which are also of concern in Wallonia.
The French and Canadian prime ministers also voiced their support for the CETA treaty.
The vote could mean Belgium cannot approve the CETA deal, as its regional parliaments are not unanimously in favour.
All 28 EU member states must give their assent for the treaty to be finally adopted bloc-wide.
The definitive result will be announced on Monday, at a meeting of representatives from Belgium’s three regions.