Solidaris and other Belgian mutuals have welcomed the decision of the Walloon Parliament to reject the CETA, the free-trade agreement between Canada and the European Union.
For the Walloon Parliament, it is not guaranteed that the CETA will have no negative impact on European social protection systems. Defenders of the agreement are said to be blind by the potential economic impact, without thinking about the possible adverse consequences in other areas such as healthcare. In the current draft of the agreement, mutual societies would be placed on equal footing with commercial insurers, without taking into account their mission of general interest which is contradictory to Belgian and European law.
Moreover, the CETA foresees no explicit exclusion of services of general interest even though it is essential in sectors such as healthcare and social protection. The press release can be found here (FR).
Belgian mutuals are not the only Davids raising against goliath trade agreements. Recently, several international trade unions, among them Education International, the world federation of education unions, also founding member of the Network, have spoken against the TiSA, the other giant trade agreement – which concerns not only Canada but 50 other parties including the EU, the US, Japan or Australia. In a press release, they state that the TiSA could make governments commit to the liberalisation of public services.