A more well-known case of a member state threatening not to sign CETA came from Belgium at the end of 2016. The French-speaking province of Wallonia has blocked the signing process in Belgium on the grounds that CETA could undermine labour, environmental and consumer standards and allow multinationals to dismantle local businesses. The Belgian government accepted the Walloon government`s concessions, including an environmental assessment of the agreement and promised to take the investor-state court to the European Court of Justice. Soon after, the Walloon government voted overwhelmingly in favour of CETA, ending the uncertainty that Belgium could not sign the agreement. This license exists only in one direction – states cannot sue companies in this investor-state arbitration procedure. Such investor complaints are not new to international law (UNCTAD listed 514 such cases at the end of 2012, most of them from the United States, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Germany), but this broad level of parallel justice is new for transatlantic trade and transatlantic investment. On July 23, 3019, the French Parliament approved the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (Canada-EU CETA). Even if the French Senate must also approve the ratification of CETA between Canada and the EU, we will mark this as ratification. To date, half of the countries have completed ratification of CETA between Canada and the EU. Critics argue that the deal is excessively good for the economy and can lead to lower regulatory standards. Opponents of CETA are still not convinced by the reforms to investment rules and say these foreign investors could grant special privileges and deter governments from legislating in the public interest for fear of litigation.
The Belgian government has asked the Court of Justice of the European Union for an opinion on the compatibility of CETA with EU law. In April 2019, the ECJ ruled that CETA was compatible with EU law. The process of ratifying trade agreements – in particular the fact that CETA has been “provisionally applied”, was also the subject of criticism before the parliaments of EU member states had the opportunity to ratify it. . . .