Dreamy, woke Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau has been humiliated on the world stage by an angry corner of Belgium which won’t dance to his tune.
The hunky leader has all but given up on striking a pivotal free trade deal with the European Union after the province of Wallonia sabotaged the process on Friday.
His international trade minister, Chrystia Freeland, walked out of talks late in the afternoon, blasting the EU for being “incapable” of agreeing a deal with even a lovely liberal paradise like Canada.
In a frustrated press statement, she concluded: “I think it’s impossible. We’re going home. At least I’ll see my kids at home tomorrow.”
— Open Europe (@OpenEurope) October 21, 2016
It’s another punch in the face for renowned boxer Trudeau – and particularly galling as a new free trade deal might have helped revive the flagging Canadian economy.
The apparent failure also makes the EU look stupid – leaders like bibulous European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker have been trying to salvage the project for months before being undone by the veto of a tiny chunk of a single member state.
The so-called CETA deal was originally going to be struck over the heads of national governments, but they kicked up such a fuss that Juncker and co. counted them in to prevent a mutiny.
Quote of the day: "Apparently they prefer exporting weapons to Saudi Arabia than apples & pears to Canada,” Flemish PM Geert Bourgeois #CETA
— Ryan Heath (@PoliticoRyan) October 20, 2016
At one point in the process the unhinged decision-making process drove Freeland to tell the press: “If the EU cannot do a deal with Canada, I think it is legitimate to say ‘Who the heck can it do a deal with?'”.
The deal’s apparent failure has the side-effect of undermining the EU’s supposed unity in the face of Brexit, and will hearten Brits who think their country is better off seeking trade agreements alone.
Despite the Canadian trade minister literally leaving the table, the EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malmström is still desperately spinning that there may be some hope. A new, later deadline of Monday later emerged:
Good progress had been made in most areas of concerns for Wallonia in talks on CETA. I sincerely believe this is not the end of the process.
— Cecilia Malmström (@MalmstromEU) October 21, 2016
— AFP news agency (@AFP) October 23, 2016
But even if her optimistic prediction comes true, the shambolic process will still have left her, her bosses and the Canadian authorities looking like idiots. At least it’s better than getting burned by a three-year-old.