EU/Canada FTA rules 'do not breach EU law'

Legislation | 2 May 2019

Judges have ruled in favour of the EU/Canada free trade agreement in a dispute with a Belgian state.


The judges of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) have decided that rules in the free trade agreement between the European Union and Canada do not breach EU law.

In 2016, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) had been seven years in the making when the Belgian state of Wallonia voiced its concerns over regulations protecting investors in case of a dispute with states.

It warned that the legality of the planned investor settlement procedure may affect the EU court's role as having the final say over the bloc's laws, as well as the right to impartial and independent courts.

Eventually, Belgium struck a deal and the Canadian FTA entered into force provisionally in September 2017, but Wallonia took the court system to the ECJ to verify whether or not it was in line with EU law.

On Tuesday (April 30th 2019), the court ruled the regulations do comply with the European bloc's legislation and that there has been no breach in the rules.

Belgium's foreign minister Didier Reynders welcomed the decision and said the court system is the first step in establishing what could become "the competent legal forum for resolving the investor-state disputes".