|In this year of Brexit 'n' Trumpism, the globophobes have been defeated. Wonders never cease.|
After several rounds of talks late into the night Belgium formally gave its endorsement on Saturday morning. Smaller than the U.S. state of New Jersey, Wallonia region blocked the deal between more than 500 million EU citizens and 35 million Canadians for several weeks. Politicians there argued the deal would undermine labor, environment and consumer standards and allow multinationals to crush local companies.There was a lot of uncertainty until the end, with tiny Wallonia hijacking the wishes of nearly half a billion Europeans and the Canadians:
The European Union and Canada were set to sign a landmark trade pact on Sunday, ending days of drama after a small Belgian region refused to endorse the agreement and deeply embarrassed the EU. The long-delayed Comprehensive and Economic Trade Agreement was bedeviled by yet another hold up early in the day when Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's plane had to return to Ottawa because of mechanical issues.Maybe the US-EU FTA, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, is not dead in the water yet?
The two-hour EU-Canada summit was rescheduled to start in Brussels at 1100 GMT (7:00 EDT.) Trudeau will sign the pact with European Council President Donald Tusk, EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, and Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico, whose country holds the EU's rotating presidency. "This is an important day for the EU and Canada too, because we setting international standards which will have to be followed by others with whom we are in negotiations as far as free trade is concerned," European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said.