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The ratification of Ceta, a free trade treaty between the EU and Canada, has been in provisional application since 2017. However, the draft bill has been delayed from being transmitted to the National Assembly due to opposition from various parties. Minister Delegate for Foreign Trade Franck Riester announced that the bill would not be transmitted until after the European elections.

The Senate’s rejection of the ratification of the treaty on March 21 caused embarrassment for the executive in the lead-up to the elections. Following this rejection, communist deputies planned to include the text in their parliamentary time in May 30. However, it seems like the government is delaying transmission of bill. Riester stated that he would transmit it at an appropriate time but not before the European elections, to allow for peaceful debate without exploitation by opposition groups for electoral gain.

Riester believes that alliance between communist group and LR senators was politically motivated and harmful to French businesses, farmers and exporters. He defended Ceta agreement and highlighted its benefits for France while differentiating it from unfavorable trade agreements. In case of rejection by National Assembly, government faces a complex decision between notifying Brussels of non-ratification or risking backlash from opposition parties.

Overall, Riester’s decision highlights how sensitive political issues can be during election periods and how governments must carefully consider their actions in order to avoid potential negative consequences.

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