European Parliament President Martin Schulz told German radio on Tuesday that he did not expect a free trade deal between the European Union and Canada to be signed this week.
Belgium said on Monday it could not formally back the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) – which needs the unanimous support of the 28 EU nations – because its French-speaking Wallonia region opposes it.
“I don’t think that we’ll get a solution this week,” Schulz told Germany’s Deutschlandfunk radio station. “That would seem to be very, very difficult to me.”He added that it would therefore be necessary to postpone an EU-Canada summit planned for Thursday.
Whether or not an agreement can be reached this week depends on the federal Belgian government reaching an agreement with Wallonia on Tuesday, Schulz said. He said he was “sceptical” about that but thought they would ultimately find a compromise.
In a broadcast statement on Monday Schulz said he was optimistic about finding a solution: “There is not only still hope with CETA. We are on the way to find a compromise and to find a solution for questions raised by the Wallonians, which are questions raised by a lot of citizens all over Europe.”