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Malmström’s Fourth ‘Interpretative declaration’ is an insult to democracy

20 October 2016

Malmström’s Fourth ‘Interpretative declaration’ is an insult to democracy

The SP is completely unimpressed by the ‘interpretative declaration’ which European Commissioner for trade Cecilia Malmström is offering in response to the justified objections which four Belgian regional parliaments – representing respectively Walloons, Francophones, German-speakers and the capital region of Brussels – have raised against the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). Without the approval of the Walloon Parliament, currently withheld, Belgium cannot agree to it, and this will mean that the European Union will also be unable to agree to the treaty.

SP Euro-MP Anne-Marie Mineur is annoyed at Malmström’s latest move. “The declarations are supposed to meet the objections which the Walloons have been raising since April and which Belgian Prime Minister Didier Reynders has to date failed to go into,” she says. “The status of the interpretative declarations which Malmström scatters before her is, however, nil –point-nil. We have time and again seen analyses from academics and legal experts which state that these declarations at best add nothing, and at worst simply lead to confusion, calling into question the government’s credibility. A fourth declaration solves nothing.”

Foto: Anne-Marie Mineur (right) met Canadian anti-CETA activist, well-known writer Naomi Klein, at the World Social Forum

The SP supports the Walloons in their struggle against CETA. “Negotiations on this radical treaty have gone on for five years in total secrecy,” says Mineur. “Let’s take the time for goodness’ sake to have a proper debate. A major part of the treaty won’t be the subject of any fresh discussions in the national parliaments, so this is the moment when we could have such a debate. The Walloon Prime Minister Paul Magnette should be praised for giving his parliament this space.”

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