"I personally have worked very hard, but it is now evident to me — evident to Canada — that the European Union is incapable of reaching an agreement, even with a country with European values such as Canada, even with a country as nice and as patient as Canada," Canadian trade minister Chrystia Freeland said.
Talks have been held between the Canadian trade minister, EU and Canadian negotiators and the head of the Belgian region Wallonia. The international trade minister of Canada did not manage to convince Minister-President of Belgium’s region of Wallonia Paul Magnette to approve the signing of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), Premiere radio station reported.
Minister of International Trade of Canada Chrystia Freeland has been actively engaged in the promotion of long-awaited free trade deal with the European Union, but did not convince Paul Magnette at the meeting on Friday to sign the deal at the bilateral summit next week.
"From our perspective these two things are closely linked, because while right at this moment the EU knows deep down that it can't get TTIP through anytime in the near future they're trying to push through CETA because a lot of the things some companies want in TTIP they can actually get in CETA," trade campaigner Mark Dearn told Sputnik.
The European Council failed to approve CETA due to Wallonia's demarche on Tuesday. The European Commission set a deadline for Wallonia to approve the deal until Friday, when European leaders are expected to gather in Brussels for the European Council summit.
CETA aims to establish a free trade zone between Canada and the European Union, scrapping more than 98 percent of the existing tariffs between Ottawa and Brussels. Opponents fear it would undermine standards and regulations on environmental protection, health, safety and workers' rights.