Today, Belgium announced that it wouldn’t support the Ceta trade deal between the European Union and Canada after one of its regions, Wallonia, blocked the deal.
Under Ceta, Canada and the EU would eliminate 98 percent of tariffs. Ceta has been negotiated over five years between 2009 and 2014. Advocates of they deal say this would increase trade between regions by 20 percent, and would especially help small businesses. Critics say the deal harbours big business, threatens product standards and will allow corporations to sue governments.
The Ceta signing was long planned to take place on Thursday in Brussels, but it is now expected that European Council President Donald Tusk will tell Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau it will not go ahead.
As a region, Wallonia is staunchly socialist. A region of 3.6 million people, Wallonia demands tougher safeguards on labour, environmental and consumer standards.
On Monday, Wallonia's regional leader Paul Magnette warned: "We will never decide anything under an ultimatum or under pressure."
On Monday, it appeared that two other Socialist-led, French-speaking parliaments also opposed Ceta.
"The federal government, the German community and Flanders said 'yes.' Wallonia, the Brussels city government and the French community said 'no'," Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel said.