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Belgium set Monday deadline over EU-Canada trade deal

Walloon Minister President Paul Magnette (left) and European Parliament President Martin Schulz. Credit: PA

Belgium has been given until Monday evening to back an EU trade deal with Canada.

The Canadians have said they are "ready to sign" the historic deal and all 28 EU government back the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement.

However, it has been held up because the regional government of the French-speaking region of Wallonia in Belgium has refused to give the go-ahead, saying the deal is bad for Europe's farmers and gives too much power to global corporate interests.

Reuters reported that EU trade officials are offering tweaks to a political declaration appended to the treaty in a bid to get them to sign.

European Council President Donald Tusk is reportedly due to speak to Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel by late on Monday to confirm if the deal is on.

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Belgium's Wallonia region: No breakthrough in CETA talks

Minister-President of Wallonia Paul Magnette attends a CETA meeting in Belgium. Credit: Reuters

The premier of Belgium's Wallonia region Paul Magnette has told his region's parliament that no breakthrough has been made in talks over the planned EU-Canada free trade deal.

Although all 28 EU governments support the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), Belgium's French-speaking Wallonia region opposes it, meaning the country as a whole cannot give assent.

Wallonia maintains that CETA poses a threat to farmers and to welfare standards.

Mr Magnette said talks on Friday had yielded some developments, but pointed out that contention still remains over an independent court system to resolve disputes.

Critics say the court system can be exploited by big business to unduly influence public policy.

CETA is expected to take centre stage is the EU leaders' summit, which is currently underway in Brussels.

Belgium machete attack 'act of terror'

Belgian police officers stand guard outside the Charleroi police station. Credit: Reuters

The machete attack on two Belgian police officers is being treated as an act of terror, the country's prime minister has confirmed.

Prime Minister Charles Michel said the attacker's shouts of "Allahu Akbar" (God is greatest) as he slashed at the two women outside Charleroi police station were a notable factor in the authorities' decision.

The attacker, who was shot and killed by police, has been identified as K.B.,an Algerian who had lived in Belgium since 2012.

The 33-year-old was already known to police as a petty criminal.

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Belgian police charge man with planning terrorist attack

A masked Belgian police officer. Credit: Reuters

Belgian police have charged a man with planning to commit terrorist murder.

Authorities arrested Nourredine H. and his brother Hamza H. following a series of house arrests on Friday evening on suspicion of carrying out terrorist attacks somewhere in Belgium.

Police conducted seven house searches in the region of Mons and a further search in Liege, although no weapons or explosives were found.

Nourredine H was charged on Saturday with conspiracy to commit a terror attack and participation in the activities of a terrorist organisation.

Meanwhile, his brother Hamza H. has been released without charge, according to federal prosecutors.

Prosecutors said in a statement on Saturday that for the time being there was no connection with the attacks at Brussels airport and the metro on March 22, in which 32 people were killed.

A judge extended Nourredine H's custody after he was charged.

Brussels and Belgium in general remain on a security alert level of three out of a maximum of four, a "serious" status with a "possible and probable" threat.

Belgium boss sacked after disappointing Euros

Marc Wilmots is out of the job. Credit: PA

Marc Wilmots has left his post as Belgium coach after his bosses admitted "the intended goals had not been reached".

The Red Devils were eliminated in the quarter-finals of Euro 2016 earlier this month, suffering a 3-1 defeat to Wales.

The Royal Belgian Football Association have made an agreement with Marc Wilmots to end his contract, that lasted until 2018.

The RBFA's technical commission have made an evaluation of the recent Uefa Euro 2016 and have declared that the intended goals have not been reached.

There is a common sense that the team needs a new impulse to lead this group towards a top result at a major tournament.

The Belgian FA will immediately start the procedure to find a new head coach, in a transparent way.

The idea is to start the upcoming games in September with a new coach, beginning with an international friendly game in Brussels against Spain on September 1.

– Belgian FA statement

Euro 2016: Party mood for Wales v Belgium showdown

Welsh and Belgian football fans have been enjoying a festival atmosphere in the French city of Lille ahead of their sides' Euro 2016 quarter final.

There is a party atmosphere in Lille ahead of the Wales Belgium match Credit: RTV
Welsh and Belgium fans take selfies together ahead of their Euro 2016 quarter final Credit: RTV

Fans have been singing and dancing in the streets, with what appears to be a friendly atmosphere, with Welsh and Belgian fans chatting and taking selfies together.

This will be the first time the two sides meet in a major tournament, having faced each other in qualifiers and friendlies before this.

Friendly scenes between the Welsh and Belgian fans Credit: RTV

'No explosives found' on man held in Brussels

A police car near the City2 shopping centre in Brussels on Tuesday morning Credit: Twitter/@DirkJacobsEu

No devices have been found on a man who was arrested this morning "possibly in possession of explosives" near a shopping centre in Brussels, security sources have said.

Streets were closed and a bomb disposal team was dispatched to the City2 complex in the centre of the Belgian capital after the man was stopped at 5:30am this morning.

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