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CETA in crisis as Canadian minister walks out

Reporter: Mariam Zaidi 丨 CCTV.com

10-22-2016 12:59 BJT

EU leaders wrapped up day two of the summit in Brussels. Discussions centered on trade and specifically, the deal between Canada and the EU called CETA, also known as the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement. After seven years of talks, EU leaders failed to convince Wallonia, the French-speaking region of Belgium to approve it.

EU leaders were back to business on Friday morning for the final day of the European Council. The big item on the agenda? To stop the EU- Canada trade deal from unraveling. CETA is currently blocked because of an objection by Belgium's regional Walloon parliament. 

"I'm not happy with today's situation to be honest. But I am and I remain a democrat. And democratic values are the DNA of this European project," said Belgian Prime Minister Charlies Michel.

As leaders emerged from their talks to address the media, there was a realization that CETA was dangerously close to being dead in the water. 

"Our citizens are increasingly concerned about whether the trade deals we negotiate are in their best interests. And I am afraid that we won't be able to continue to negotiate FTAs if we do not prove in practice that we are very serious about protecting EU workers, people and companies," said president of European Council Donald Tusk.

For a member of the European Parliament at the summit, the reasons for CETA's failure was obvious.

"If the EU Commission had stuck to a purely trade agenda that is lowering tariffs, that is market access, that is technical standards, CETA would have been adopted without any problem," said Philippe Lamberts, member of European Parliament.

In a worrying development for proponents of CETA, following the summit, Canada's trade minister walked out of talks in Brussels saying that it was evident that the EU is not capable of having an international agreement even with a country that has values as European as Canada. She called the deal impossible. With CETA now stalled it crosses back to the EU's Executive - the European Commission- to see if they can get it moving again.

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