A Canadian delegation will not be heading off to Europe to sign a landmark free trade deal with the European Union after Belgium failed to make decisive headway to lift a crucial veto of one of its regions.
A release from Canada’s International trade minister late Wednesday confirms an embarrassing cancellation of a special summit after Belgium’s recalcitrant Francophone leaders insisted they would need more time to study and approve the latest compromise texts following talks with the Belgian national government, which desperately wants to sign the trans-Atlantic deal.
Alex Lawrence, the spokesman for Canada’s trade minister, said in the release that Canada is ready to sign the Canada-EU trade deal whenever Europe is ready.
The 28-nation EU can only sign the agreement if it has unanimity among its 28 member states and Belgium can only approve it is all its regional executives back it.
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