EU-Canada Political Relations

Canada is one of the European Union's 10 Strategic Partners worldwide. Canada is a friend and a natural ally with whom the European Union shares common values, deeply rooted in common cultural and historic experiences. As partners of the G7/G20, the EU and Canada share common goals in international fora and work closely together to promote and defend democratic principles; human rights; the rule of law; and good governance around the world. They maintain a strong political dialogue with regular political meetings between Heads of State and Government and at ministerial level. The EU and Canada frequently hold sector specific dialogues as well, reaching from energy, environment and climate change to non-proliferation, defence and security matters. 

The recent political breakthroughs on the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) and the Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) will further enhance this strong relationship.

The ambitious Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA), which has been initialled in September 2014 in Ottawa, will provide an overall upgrade and an umbrella for the bilateral relations. It will replace the 1976 Framework Agreement with a modern Treaty reflecting the major developments within the European Union over the last decades. SPA will reinforce cooperation in such strategic areas as international peace and security; human rights; environment; research; innovation; energy security; and education.

The European Union and Canada have built a solid platform for foreign policy cooperation. As a Strategic Partner, the European Union holds regular consultations with Canada, ranging from Summits at the level of Heads of State and government; ministerial consultations; dialogues of the Political Directors; to more sector specific consultations on various regional and global issues. Canada is a valued participant in the EU’s civilian missions and military operations under the Common Security and Defence Policy, for example in the Balkans, Ukraine and the Middle East. Canada and the European Union also join forces on electoral observation missions.

The Arctic
The European Union is an active player and stakeholder in the High North. Its policy for the Arctic is constantly developed in close cooperation among European Commission, the European Parliament and the EU Member States.

The European Union is also an Arctic entity. Finland, Sweden and Denmark (via Greenland) have Arctic territories and are members of the Arctic Council in their own right as Arctic states. The Swedish and Finish Arctic territories form an integral part of the European Union while Greenland, which itself has chosen to remain outside the EU, has a special associate status with the Union. Norway and Iceland, both members of the Arctic Council, belong to the European Economic Area and, therefore, transfer almost all EU internal legislation into their own domestic law.

Since European legislation is applicable across the European Union (including in the High North) and is adopted with qualified majority, it is essential that the EU has direct exchanges with the Arctic community. The Arctic Council, with its Member States and Permanent Participants, is the pre-eminent forum for international Arctic cooperation. The active Observer Status of the European Union is very important in this regard and allows for valuable contributions.

The European Union and Canada already cooperate actively on various Arctic issues. Under the new research programme Horizon 2020, the European Union has a specific window for research cooperation with Canada and the U.S. on Arctic and marine science. The European Union Ambassador and other members of the Delegation have been to the Canadian Arctic and constantly engage with authorities in the three Canadian Territories, most notably in Nunavut.