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Foreign ministry: Majority of EU states view CETA free trade deal as favourable

Foreign ministry: Majority of EU states view CETA free trade deal as favourable

Budapest, October 3 (MTI) – The planned free trade deal between the European Union and Canada would create far better conditions for Hungary than its current bilateral agreement with Canada, and the majority of EU member states view the pact positively, a foreign and trade ministry official said on Monday.

State secretary László Szabó told a meeting of parliament’s sustainable development committee that any EU member state would be able to block the outcome of five years of negotiations. Support for the putative agreement, however, is much stronger than for TTIP, the pact being negotiated between the United States and the EU, he said.

Szabó warned that the process of ratification of the CETA pact could take years. A meeting of the EU General Affairs Council on October 18 would not end with the signing of a final agreement but a temporary one pending ratification, he added.

For the process to advance forward, Hungary’s parliament must approve the agreement in its current form. Before final approval there will be time to negotiate its precise wording, he said.

The ombudsman for future generations told the meeting that his office did not support the signing of the agreement. Hungary needs euroconform solutions that would improve CETA, he said. Its introduction on a temporary basis would make ratification symbolic because the agreement would be in effect anyway.

He suggested that Hungary could add a legal appendix to the text of CETA which could prevent future disputes that would work against the country’s benefit.

The committee’s head, Benedek R Sallai of the opposition green LMP party, said CETA did not conform with Hungary’s constitution and violated the principle of staying GMO free so he did not agree with ratification.

On his initiative, the committee submitted an amendment proposal that was passed with five votes in favour and three abstentions.

Source: MTI

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