The European Union’s parliament approved a trade deal with Canada today, extolling the pact as a sign of co-operation at a time when many political forces are trying to halt globalization.
After three hours of debate on Wednesday and years of negotiations preceding that, the EU’s legislature approved the deal by a margin of 408 for, 254 against with 33 abstentions, allowing for its provisional entry into force.
The vote should close the drawn-out approval process across the 28 member states, where some governments and legislations had tried to modify or scupper the deal. The Netherlands could conceivably still block the deal if it demands an advisory national referendum.
The vote for a major trade agreement comes at a time when populist parties in Europe and President Donald Trump in the United States, have been looking increasingly inward.
Trump has nixed a trade deal with Pacific countries, said he wants to renegotiate or replace the North American Free Trade Agrement and floated the idea of tariffs on imports.
“President Trump has given us another good reason to intensify our links with Canada _ while Trump introduces tariffs, we are not only tearing them down but also setting the highest progressive standards,” said Guy Verhofstadt, the leader of the ALDE liberal group.