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Belgium reaches consensus on FTA between EU and Canada

Staff Writer |
The Belgian authorities had reached a last-minute agreement on a free-trade agreement between the European Union and Canada, which had been blocked by Belgium’s French-speaking region of Wallonia.

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The breakthrough was confirmed by Belgium’s Prime Minister Charles Michel, who after two days of non-stop negotiations, wrote on his Twitter account: “Belgian agreement on #CETA. All parliaments are now able to approve by tomorrow at midnight. Important step for EU and Canada.”

The agreement is to be forwarded to the EU member countries for its ratification.

The president of the Wallonia region, socialist Paul Magnette, stressed that “the world we want to live in” was at stake in the negotiations.

Belgium’s Foreign Affairs Minister Didier Reynders said that it was important that his country’s regional powers found common ground regarding CETA.

European Council President Donald Tusk reacted to the news by announcing that the EU had completed all the procedures enabling the EU to sign the agreement, Tweeting that he would contact Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Canada had previously said that it was ready to sign the agreement when Europe was ready.

The Canadian delegation, led by Trudeau, had canceled its trip to Brussels on Wednesday and a new date for the signing of the treaty was yet to be decided.

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