OTTAWA Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday angrily urged the European Union to approve a free trade deal with Canada, saying failure to do so would show the 28-nation bloc was heading down the wrong path.
Canada's Liberal government has watched with increasing dismay as a series of political protests inside European Union member states threaten the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), which took years to negotiate.
A region of Belgium is set to block the deal when EU trade ministers meet next week to vote on CETA. Trudeau is tentatively due to fly to Brussels at the end of October to formally sign the agreement.
"If we find in a week or two that Europe is incapable of signing a progressive trade deal with a country like Canada, then who does Europe think it can do business with in the years to come?" Trudeau said in forceful remarks to reporters after talks with visiting French Prime Minister Manuel Valls.
"If Europe doesn't manage to sign this deal it will be a very clear message - not just to Europeans but to the entire world - that Europe is choosing a path that is perhaps not very productive ... that would be really sad," he added.
Canada and the EU, which say CETA could boost bilateral trade by 20 percent, want the deal to come into force next year.
(Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Tom Brown)