Socialist Belgian region holds tight to block EU/Canada trade deal

EU officials still think there's a chance that the treaty will be signed...

Socialist Belgian region holds tight to block EU/Canada trade deal

Picture by Francois Mori AP/Press Association Images

Donald Tusk, the head of the European council, believes that it is still possible for the EU's controversial trade deal with Canada to be signed this week.

This comes after Belgium failed to sign off on the deal which would reduce trade barriers between Canada and EU states.

The Belgium government cannot agree to the deal without the consent of its five regional counsels, including Wallonia, a French-speaking region in the south which has objected to the deal and is on the verge of derailing the treaty which has been seven years in the making.

Brussels set a deadline of yesterday evening to sign-off on the deal - EU officials indicated to The Guardian that failure to do so would result in the cancellation of Thursday's trade summit with Canada.

Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel revealed last night that the talks had failed.

Representatives in the left-leaning region have echoed the sentiments of protests across Europe who have mobilised to protest against the deal and TTIP - a similar deal between the EU and the US.

The agreement would have cut 98% of existing tariffs on trade between the EU and Canada.

The main point of contention is the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanisms included in these agreements. This allows businesses to take legal actions against governments who introduce new laws which threaten future anticipated profits.