The Last Bastion Against CETA

The failure to finalise a trade deal with Canada has lead to emergency meetings in Brussels and has perhaps exposed the European Union’s biggest flaw.

CETA is a proposed trade deal between the EU and Canada that has taken seven years to negotiate (whereas most trade deals will be implemented in less than half this time) and is designed to help boost both Europe’s and Canada’s economies as well as removing 98% of tariffs between the two parties. Some of you may be familiar with the controversial TTIP, which has been contentious as it aims to reduce regulation on trade for multinational corporations, including mitigating measures such as food safety laws, environmental legislation, restrictions on bankers and possibly even leading to the privatisation of public services like the NHS by American companies. CETA allows companies to sue governments over any new law or policy that could reduce their profits in the future. This has left many people concerned that our governments will become increasingly powerless and our democracy will be sacrificed to big businesses – which probably explains why the EU wishes to negotiate these deals in secret.

Even though Britain will be leaving the EU, the affects of CETA will likely remain after Brexit, and Theresa May has said that she wishes for Britain to remain at the forefront of EU proceedings until we formally leave the bloc.

Anyhow, although all 28 member states do support the agreement, the Belgian constitution states that all of its regional governments must agree to a deal before the federal government can formally sign it; therefore, Belgium is not currently in a position to approve CETA. This is because the French-speaking region of Wallonia, which has strong socialist views and – like many others – fears CETA for the power it gives to big businesses, is refusing to back the deal.

This means that one single region of one single country with a population of just 3.6 million is standing in the way of a 28-country bloc with a combined population of 508 million.

Ordinarily, I would find great amusement in watching the European Union embarrass itself in such a farcical manner, but today I’m backing Wallonia 100% – TTIP and CETA are dangerous. End of.