The European Union’s hopes of signing a landmark free trade deal with Canada this week appeared to evaporate on Monday as the Belgian federal government failed to win the consent of French-speaking regional authorities.
European Council President Donald Tusk had given Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel until Monday, three days before the planned signing, to resolve the impasse. But a meeting Michel hosted with leaders of the five sub-federal authorities whose permission he needs to go ahead ended in stalemate.
Tusk is now expected to contact Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and call off an EU-Canada summit that was scheduled for Thursday in Brussels, although all sides insist that the CETA pact, seven years in the making, remains in everyone’s interest.
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