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European Union Europe must delay summit on Canada trade pact - Schulz

Schulz's words run counter to European Union President Donald Tusk, who on Monday said "Thursday's summit is still possible".

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"I don't think we'll have a solution this week," European Parliament President Martin Schulz said in an interview on Deutschlandfunk radio about the CETA trade deal play

"I don't think we'll have a solution this week," European Parliament President Martin Schulz said in an interview on Deutschlandfunk radio about the CETA trade deal

(AFP/File)

Europe must delay a summit this week when EU leaders hoped to sign the hotly-contested CETA free-trade deal with Canada, European Parliament President Martin Schulz told German radio on Tuesday.

"I don't think we'll have a solution this week," Schulz said in an interview on Deutschlandfunk radio. "That seems to me to be very, very difficult."

But the German centre-left politician insisted that delaying the summit would not mean the deal had failed.

"A transatlantic trade agreement isn't any old contract about buying a second-hand car. It's a first-of-its-kind, really huge trade agreement of global importance that should set rules for globalisation," Schulz said.

"If you need 14 more days then you just push back the summit."

Schulz's words run counter to European Union President Donald Tusk, who on Monday said "Thursday's summit is still possible".

French-speaking Wallonia had earlier refused to give consent for Belgium's federal government to join other EU member states in signing, casting doubts over whether Canadian premier Justin Trudeau would make the Thursday trip to Brussels at all.

A demonstrator protests against the TTIP and CETA trade deals in Brussels on October 24, 2016 play

A demonstrator protests against the TTIP and CETA trade deals in Brussels on October 24, 2016

(AFP)

All 28 EU governments must endorse the pact to link the EU's single market of 500 million people with Canada, the 10th-largest economy in the world, if it is to go ahead.

"Canada is ready to sign CETA, but the ball is in Europe's court and it's time for Europe to do its job," Canadian trade minister Chrystia Freeland said on Monday.

Europe's institutions are divided on how to proceed, with the European Council -- the gathering of heads of state and government -- still pushing for an agreement this week, while the European Commission is ready to offer Belgium more time, an EU source told AFP.

Fears that the CETA deal will fizzle out after seven years of negotiations have been a fresh blow to the European Union, still digesting Britain's June vote to quit the bloc and yet to fully come to grips with its worst migration crisis since World War II.

Freeland labelled the EU "incapable" of reaching international agreements after talks with the Belgian region of Wallonia failed last week.

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