EU ministers meet in Luxembourg to discuss the EU-Canada trade deal. But as David Pollard reports, unanimous EU backing for the trade pact is still in the balance, and protests against the terms of the accord are continuing.
For some in Luxembourg, the writing is on the wall. If for EU ministers meeting there - the CETA trade deal with Canada will go ahead. Belgium pledging efforts to bring its regional dissenters on board. Germany admitting more work might be needed. (SOUNDBITE) (German) GERMAN ECONOMY MINISTER, SIGMAR GABRIEL, SAYING: "I don't think the agreement can fail but there are still questions from, for example, Belgium and Romania, that we can perhaps answer today or perhaps we need a bit more time." Germany's constitutional court cleared the trade deal last week. But this regional parliament - in Belgium's French speaking Wallonia - said no. Full unanimous EU backing still in doubt - for a deal whose fans say represents a 20 per cent boost to trade. (SOUNDBITE) (English) EU TRADE COMMISSIONER, CECELIA MALMSTROM, SAYING: "If we can't sign with Canada of course the rest of the world will ask themselves 'Is Europe a reliable partner?' Its detractors - and some economists - raise different questions - over the extent to which CETA favours big corporations. (SOUNDBITE) (French) EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE ASSOCIATION FOODWATCH IN FRANCE, KARINE JACQUEMART, SAYING: "If we accept a CETA that does not protect the right of citizens and consumers; if we accept a CETA that allows foreign investors to contest public decisions, we lose democracy ..." (SOUNDBITE) (English) BGC PARTNERS MARKET STRATEGIST, MIKE INGRAM, SAYING: "There is a worry that we are slowly sliding towards a situation where governments ultimately have very little say, certainly individual governments have very little say, in the running of the affairs and by implication the electorate is impotent. It's all basically pandering to the needs of multinationals." CETA took five years to negotiate. It could be signed next week. But even Canada has raised questions over the EU's commitment. As protests continue in Europe, patience wearing thin on both sides of the Atlantic.