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Webinar: “Understanding the Contestation of EU-Canada Trade Policy: Actors in Institutional Context”

March 2, 2021 at 10:00 AM to 11:30 AM

Location:CES Zoom Room online

The Jean Monnet Network on EU-Canada Relations will host a research webinar, “Understanding the Contestation of EU-Canada Trade Policy: Actors in Institutional Context”, with presentations by Professors Dirk De Bièvre (University of Antwerp), Scott Hamilton (University of Antwerp) and Professor Crina Viju-Miljusevic (Carleton University).

The presenters will offer their insights on EU-Canada trade policy. Following the presentation will be a discussion and question and answer period.

This seminar is geared towards graduate students, scholars and practitioners. Please feel free to share this invitation with interested colleagues at your university or organization.

Registration is required to receive a Zoom link to attend the webinar. Please complete the registration form following below by Monday, March 1st.

Draft Agenda:

“Going it alone: Belgian federalism and Wallonia’s temporary blockage of the EU-Canada bilateral trade agreement in 2016”

Presenters: Dirk De Bièvre

Constitutionally, the Belgian federation represents the most extreme case of regional entities wielding power over European Union external trade policymaking. The Flemish, Walloon and Brussels regions indeed hold veto power over Belgian federal positions and actions. Yet, only once has a Belgian region actually made use of this capacity, when Wallonia temporarily blocked the conclusion of an EU trade agreement with Canada in 2016. In this paper, we sketch the historical origins of this peculiar Belgian constitutional arrangement and trace under which conditions political actors – legislative and executive – activate this possibility. Using an amended version of the Broschek and Goff (2020) framework, we explain how the Walloon mobilization against CETA could result from a constellation of it’s the region’s low trade dependence, the high institutional capacity of Belgian regions – effectively holding a veto even over the EU negotiator, together with government-opposition dynamics within the peculiar Belgian federal set-up. The Walloon Parti Socialiste fearlessly seized this window of opportunity and ended up reinforcing the paradox of weakness in EU external trade policy making. We finish by discussing the spill-over effects of the 2016 CETA episode into the shaping of future EU trade policies, as well as into future intra-Belgian EU policymaking.

“Varieties of Politicization: An Institutional Approach to Trade Policy Contestation”

Presenters: Scott Hamilton and Dirk De Bièvre

This paper highlights the central role of national institutions in mediating exchanges between political actors. It explores the potential impact of several distinguishing features between liberal and coordinated market economies on measures of structural network analysis: in-degree, out-degree, and betweenness centrality. Our hypotheses are drawn with respect to how institutional structure impacts upon different types of organizations’ ability to convey their prospective losses. We suggest that not only are different organizations loss averse, their “loss” might actually a currency which other organizations need, in varying degrees, depending on institutional context. Following this thread through various member states, we demonstrate the extent to which institutions contribute to idiosyncratic politicization processes. Twitter data collected in the weeks after the announcement of the EU-China comprehensive agreement on investment is machine geo-coded based on user location and hand-coded based on actor-type. The data set is explored through graphic network analysis and preliminary results are presented, showing that civil society and unions are more central in coordinated market economies, while firms and government are more central in liberal market economies.

Special Issue Presentation: “Global Economic Relations in the Trump Era and After”

Presenter: Crina Viju-Miljusevic

Following on the successful workshop held at Carleton University held last year, Crina Viju-Miljusevic presents an upcoming special issue on global economic relations in the Trump era and after. While the workshop took place in the “pre-Corona” context, the workshop highlighted a number of issues which have become still more prescient in the intervening period. Political and economic uncertainty, assertive unilateralism and ideological challenges to the multilateral trade regime continue to characterize the global context in which the EU and Canada seek cooperation.

A separate email will confirm your attendance and provide a room link and further information. If you have any concerns about the online platform or have questions, please email

EU flag logo and acknowledgement "With the support of the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union"

This event is an activity of the Jean Monnet Network on EU-Canada Relations, supported by the Erasmus + Programme of the European Union, by Carleton University, and by Jean Monnet Network partner universities.