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Demonstrators hold upside down portraits of French President Emmanuel Macron during a protest in Bayonne, France. Demonstrators hold upside down portraits of French President Emmanuel Macron during a protest through the streets of Bayonne, France, Aug. 25, 2019 (AP photo by Bob Edme).

Anti-Government Protests in France Spell Trouble for the EU’s Trade Agenda

Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019

Anti-government protesters have vandalized the offices of French officials aligned with President Emmanuel Macron in recent weeks, part of an ongoing backlash against the recent approval of a free trade agreement between Canada and the European Union. The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, or CETA, was ratified by the French legislature in late July, prompting farmers and environmental groups to target the offices of legislators and local officials who belong to Macron’s Republic on the Move party. In an email interview with WPR, Gerry Alons, an assistant professor of international relations and a trade policy expert at Radboud University in the Netherlands, explains the controversy behind CETA and how the ongoing protests will complicate the ratification process for another recent deal between the EU and South America’s Mercosur trade bloc.

World Politics Review: Why did ratification of the Canada-EU trade agreement in the French National Assembly face so much opposition, including from Macron’s own party? ...

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