Actore afternoon debate on the (il)legitimacy of European trade agreements with Paul Magnette

May 30th 2017, 11.30h, City Campus, Meerminne M002


Paul Magnette, prime-minister of the Walloon Region

Prof. Ferdi De Ville, Ghent University

Prof. Dirk De Bièvre, University of Antwerp

Fredrik Erixon, European Centre for International Political Economy, Brussels


Prof. Peter Bursens, coordinator of Actore, University of Antwerp

From 2009 onwards until 2014, the European Commission, on behalf of the EU member states and the European parliament, negotiated the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with Canada. A qualified majority in the EU Council of Ministers and an absolute majority in the European Parliament approved the CETA agreement, as did all national parliaments of the EU member states. In Belgium, this meant that also the regional parliaments had to decide whether or not to ratify the treaty, occasioning the Walloon parliament and government to formulate reservations. The negotiation of a similar treaty with the United States, the TTIP, has for some NGOs given rise to great controversy on Courts of Investment Arbitration, as well as wider skepticism about the appropriateness of large preferential trade agreements. Moreover, the European Court of Justice will publish an opinion on the division of powers in regard to these kind of agreements by mid-May.

In this afternoon debate, our panelists will engage in an exchange of views on these developments in European trade policy, its decision rules and practices, as well as claims about their democratic (il)legitimacy.