Belgium has lifted its opposition to a trade deal between the European Union and Canada on Thursday, paving the way for national parliamentary approval across the bloc. However, this does not mean that concerns over Europe's trade policy have disappeared.
Charles Michel, the Belgian prime minister, said on Twitter: "Belgian agreement on CETA (Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement). All parliaments are now able to approve by tomorrow at midnight. Important step for EU and Canada."
Canada's trade ministry applauded the news as a "positive development" but added that there was still work to do.
"Canada has done its job," it said in a statement.
"We negotiated a progressive agreement that will create jobs and growth for the middle class. Canada remains ready to sign this important agreement when Europe is ready.The trade partnership, which have been negotiated for seven years, nearly collapsed after the Belgian region of Wallonia voiced concerns over CETA's impact on the agricultural sector and welfare standards."
Such opposition was preventing individual EU parliaments from giving the green light to the deal. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada even cancelled a trip to Brussels this Thursday on fears that the deal would no longer be signed.