Our federal trade minister, who is very much pro-CETA, admitted on national TV that the walloon veto sufficed to block the whole CETA process, which he very much regrets of course !
We hear regularly for one week that Wallonia would be isolated in its position to veto the signature of CETA by Belgium.
This statement has to be nuanced : firstly amongst the Belgian competent entities, there are 4 parliaments who passed resolutions establishing conditions to make the CETA acceptable, conditions which are not met (by far!) in the final test of CETA (and the « interpretative declaration » sadly does not change anything to this fact). To our knowledge, to date, none of the 4 governments of Brussels and Walloon regions, the Wallonie-Brussels federation and even the German speaking community have given full powers to the federal government to sign CETA. So, within the Belgian institutions, Wallonia is not isolated. At European level, specialized news site EU Trade Insights still repeated this Monday morning (17 oct) that at least 5 Member States are not ready to sign the CETA (Belgium, Austria, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Romania), while signature by Member States are expected Tuesday. According to this source, the European Commission considers that this decision only requires a qualified majority (which is debatable), but seeks unanimity given the level of sensitivity of the issue (and given the risk that a single national parliament decides, downstream of the process, to bring down the entire agreement).
Let’s add that Paul Magnette, Walloon Minister-President, told the Walloon Parliament on Friday that following its bilateral contacts with other governments, he could say that there is reluctance in at least 4 or 5 Member States, including the Netherlands, but nobody wanted to be the first one to create trouble.
He also said that the decision of the German Constitutional Court of 13 October did not give unconditional approval to the CETA.
In Luxembourg, we know that the green party forming part of the government coalition is not in favor of signing the CETA.
Suggesting that each opponent is isolated is a classic negotiating technique to put silence opposition.
The Walloon government is not isolated from other governments and has chosen not to isolate itself from its citizens and the majority of organizations of its organized civil society who are asking to stop the CETA.