EU-Canada trade talks fail

A landmark trade deal between the European Union and Canada is in meltdown, after Canada’s trade minister Chrystia Freeland walked out of talks with the Belgian regional parliament that has been blocking the deal.

The comprehensive economic and trade agreement (Ceta), which would eliminate tariffs on most goods between the EU and Canada, has been seven years in the making. But it has stumbled near the finish line as the Belgian region of Wallonia, with a population of 3.5 million, blocked Belgium’s government from signing the deal. The EU, a single market of 510 million people, requires unanimity on trade deals.

Martin Schulz, the president of the European parliament, said he would meet Freeland early on Saturday and Walloon pr emier Paul Magnette after that to revive the talks. “We can’t stop at last mile,” he said on Twitter.

Malta’s Prime Minister said on Twitter, he was “disappointed that agreement on not agreed to yet with – one of world’s most advanced economies.”

Photo. Joseph Muscat speaking to journalists after EU Council meeting