On December 5, 2016, the Belgian region of Wallonia published the Namur Declaration, proposing to change trade policy and negotiations. The document was initially signed by 40 academics from several countries, including Paul Magnette, Minister-President of Wallonia. The region made the news in October 2016, when its parliament temporarily blocked the approval of by the Belgian federal government.
Based on public concerns expressed in the context of CETA negotiations, the declaration makes proposals under three principles: (1) respect for democratic procedures, (2) compliance with socio-economic, sanitary and environmental legislation, and (3) guarantee of public interests in the dispute resolution mechanism.
In response to the Namur Declaration, over 60 European academics praised the European Union’s “unique decision-making process ensuring democratic legitimacy at multiple levels (going beyond any other country)” and denounced the threat of “attempts to renationalize EU policies.” They issued the Trading Together Declaration, developing five proposals to make the European Union more democratic.
Among the five proposals are increased transparency of all EU institutions on the objectives they pursue in international trade policy, as well as access of “all private stakeholders (not just foreign investors)” to mechanisms to ensure states’ compliance with international agreements, “including obligations on sustainability, environmental, social and health protection.”