Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:
In Belgium, an agreement was reached at the beginning of the afternoon on the CETA trade agreement, concluded by the EU with Canada. All EU countries had agreed, except Belgium. The Walloons objected and fought a long time for additional commitments. What have they achieved?
Belgium will ask the European Court of Justice to rule on the special [ISDS] courts to be established to resolve trade problems. According to the statement these courts are in contravention of previous European agreements. In this way, Belgium is trying to prevent that billion euro claims can be made against governments.
For Flanders and the other regional governments, the European Commission‘s statement that the new courts will not yet start for the time being is sufficient. But not for Wallonia. That is why the agreement says that the Walloon and Brussels parliaments and the German language representatives will not sign the treaty if finally these special courts will come after all.
There will also be a separate assessment of the environmental impact. Moreover, the socio-economic consequences, eg for employment, will also be scrutinized. If it appears that the trade agreement damages one of the regions in Belgium, then the agreement will not be ratified.
The market should not be disturbed, in particular the market of agricultural products. In other words: if there come lots of cheap dairy products from Canada to Europe, making that Walloon farmers can no longer sell their products, then Wallonia reserves the right to intervene.
Products that have been genetically modified will not be allowed to enter Belgium. That means no meat from animals raised with growth hormones. The treaty calls that a limit on new reproductive technologies. The less strict legislation in Canada will not under any circumstances be copied by the European Union.
Call on Belgian MPs to reject this compromise, as concession to Wallonia are not enough: here.
As CETA Rises from Ashes, Campaigners Vow: ‘The More You Insist, the More We Resist’: here.