The regional parliament of Wallonia in Belgium has passed a resolution that could scupper the adoption of the transatlantic treaties. It requests (among other things) that the regional administration deny the national government the powers it needs to sign the CETA. The 27 points which the resolution lists in justification cover all the issues raised by the various organizations opposing the treaties.
The Belgian state has a strongly federal structure in which regions and communities are constitutionally on a par with the federation. Many competences are fully devolved to the ‘federated entities’, and the parliaments and governments of these cannot be overruled by their national counterparts. Where these institutions differ on an issue, the country’s position has to be worked out by joint efforts.
Because many of the provisions in CETA and TTIP fall within the ambit of regional government, the Walloon resolution is of huge importance. To acquire legal force, CETA must be approved and ratified by all EU member-states and the resolution is therefore a decisive first step towards ensuring the non-adoption of the treaty. The position of Belgium’s strongly neo-liberal federal government has suffered a decisive blow: it does not now have the power to agree to CETA. Given the direction of travel of final negotiations between the United States and the European Commission, the same should apply in the case of TTIP.
Thanks to the Walloon action, the whole package of transatlantic negotiations may now be up for review: the three visits paid to the Walloon parliament by the EU’s Commissioner for External Trade, Cecilia Malmström, to win it over to the EU line, demonstrate the potential impact of the resolution.
We urge all European organizations opposed to CETA and TTIP to take this development fully on board and see it as a spur to their endeavours.
We would ask that you circulate this memo both internally and to other relevant organizations and the media. A copy of the resolution is attached for your information and use.