October 25, 2016
Within the space of one week we heard Donald Tusk showed little respect for democratic decision making. At the European Council he said he would prefer it if Brexit were reversed, and yesterday, he chose to ignore the statement by the Belgian prime minister, Charles Michel, who said yesterday that he could not give Belgium's ascent to the Ceta law after Wallonia decided, once again, to reject the deal. Tusk had given the Wallonians Monday's deadline, but said yesterday that the EU/Canada deal was still scheduled to go ahead on Thursday, adding that he hoped the two sides would find a solution by then. So this is the next deadline. As so often in Europe, a No is simply not accepted as an answer. We cannot see Wallonia to cave in.
We agree with the Bernd Lange, MEP and head of the EP's trade committee, that Ceta has effectively failed. There is a possibility that it might be rescued, but the president of the Walloon parliament said that this would only be happen if they are given until the end of the year, which is the time they will need to make sure that the various clarifications they have received are actually put into the treaty. The Flemish newspaper De Morgen has argued that Paul Magnette's diplomacy is only in part motivated by factual concerns. He stands to gain politically from the controversy, to emerge as the next leader of Belgium's centre-left.
Hendrick Kafsak writes in Franfurter Allgemeine that one possible way out is a bribe. After a plant closure by Caterpillar in Wallonia, the regional government is under pressure from the hard left. A dirty deal could consist of financial support in exchange for Magnette's Yes for Ceta, he writes quoted EU sources.
Sven Giegold is refreshingly frank about his assessment. While he is glad that Ceta is failing, he is not happy with the way it was brought down. This way damages the EU and its ability to act, he writes. It is democratically not acceptable that a small region vetoes the policy of the entire EU.
We also have stories on a Brexit plan B; on the Commissision’s Italian budget verdict; on MPS' new business plan; on the Commission's plan for a common corporate tax base; on the imminent reshuffle in the Greek cabinet; on the latest spending review in France; and on the Communists' support for Centeno's budget.