Why does Wallonia care so much?

By Staff | October 27, 2016 | Last updated on October 27, 2016
1 min read

The squeaky wheel gets the grease. Or in this case, the dissenting parliament gets the international limelight.

In recent days, the Belgian region of Wallonia became known for stalling the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between the EU and Canada. CETA is now on track again, but why the dissent?

Read: Opportunity, not anarchy, in the U.K.

While Wallonia has a population of about 3.5 million compared to over 500 million for the EU, the EU requires unanimity from its 28 members to seal the deal. Wallonia’s concerns: the deal harms beef and pork farmers, poses a risk to environmental and labour standards, and settles disputes in a way that gives multinationals more power to sue EU governments, Dow Jones reports.

Read: U.K. banks preparing to leave before Brexit: banking official

Reflecting on the region’s political and economic history as a thriving industrial area dominated by French speakers, the Dow Jones story compares modern-day Wallonia to American cities such as Detroit, where free trade is perceived as hurting workers’ rights and wages. Further, Socialist Party support is strong in the region, and its stance on CETA gave the party renewed prominence after being shut out of the government coalition since 2014.

The Canadian Press reports that the updated text of the deal provides guarantees for farmers and an agreeable corporate settlement system.

Read: Workers in for another year of modest salary gains

Advisor.ca staff


The staff of Advisor.ca have been covering news for financial advisors since 1998.