Amid serious efforts by the Harper government on focusing to strike a major trade agreement with the European Union, the Canadian negotiators have been asked to stay for additional nine days in Brussels as the negotiation continue. The Tories have been finalizing an extensive communications strategy to sell a deal, which they hope to acquire as the time Prime Minister Stephen Harper heads to Europe in advance of the June 17-18 Group of Eight summit in Northern Ireland.
Mr. Harper is scheduled to stay for at least almost eight days in Europe after his planned departure on June 11, which is a schedule designed to allow him maximum window of opportunity to make a detour to the EU capital in Belgium for celebrating a trade agreement. Canada’s chief negotiator, Steve Verheul, has been on the bargaining table in Brussels for more than a week to talk deal with the Europeans. Whereas, the chief of staff of Canada’s trade minister Ed Fast, Bill Hawkins, was also dispatched in the middle of the negotiations so he could report back the progress at this crucial juncture.
Inside sources have anonymously revealed that Mr. Verheul’s team has been asked to prolong their stay in Brussels for at least until June 8. Meanwhile, Mr. Fast also met with his EU trade counterpart on the sidelines of an Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development meeting in Paris on Wednesday, and is now anticipated to speak by phone with Karel De Gucht again on Saturday just to keep pressure on the talks
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