EU, Belgium seeking solution to Canada trade deal stalemate

Fate of the deal hangs on the francophone region of Wallonia

October 17, 2016
The Canadian Press
The Canadian Press

LUXEMBOURG—Talks to convince a small Belgian region to back the wide-ranging free trade deal between the 28-nation European Union and Canada could spill over in this week’s EU summit of leaders.

The fate of the deal hangs on the francophone region of Wallonia, which has a population of only 3.5 million people.

Under EU rules, trade deals require the support of all 28 members. The same applies for Belgium’s six regional governments.

Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders says Monday that a deal could emerge “tomorrow.”

If not, one could emerge at the summit, allowing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to go to Brussels on Oct. 27 to sign the agreement.

The main discussion points at this week’s summit, which starts Thursday, is Britain’s exit from the EU and relations with Russia.