Trade agreements and politics – bad romance?

Open trade bad idea

In the media, we see some surprised responses to the fact that the Walloon parliament in southern Belgium is able to veto an international trade agreement on behalf of Belgium. This concerns the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) closed between the EU and Canada. The surprise does not come from the fact that people or parliamentarians oppose to big trade agreements, but rather that the Walloon parliament is able to resist to such an agreement, being a regional (and not a national) legislature. However, this is not so surprising when we take a closer look at the Belgian constitutional system and its current political climate.

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Son of a bitch! – Virtue in politics (and the role of the media)

detarte

Recently, the headlines of the news have been dominated by all kinds of remarkable details regarding our politicians. However, they usually are not about the political ideas of the politicians or the party they represent, but rather about funny details and edgy characteristics. For instance, why is it so important that Hillary Clinton’s best friend was in a relation with a pervert? And why does Donald Trump keep emphasizing how successful and rich he is as a businessman? And why is the sexual orientation of the Dutch President more important than his liberal ideas on business? And how come that the news regarding the latest AESEAN summit was dominated by a silly remark of the President of the Philippines on Barack Obama, instead of the more pressing issues such as climate change and North Korea’s latest nuclear tests?

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