European Union External Action

EU-Canada Strategic Partnership Agreement

Brussels, 01/04/2017 - 08:00, UNIQUE ID: 161029_11

The signature of the Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) between the European Union and Canada at the 16th EU-Canada Summit on 30 October 2016, together with the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, will mark the beginning of a new, dynamic chapter in the European Union's long-standing partnership with Canada.

The Strategic Partnership Agreement will upgrade the current framework of cooperation between the EU and Canada and expand the basis of the relationship, in parallel with efforts to foster trade and investment. The Agreement enshrines both sides' shared democratic values and enhances political dialogue on a broad range of areas, including international peace and security, economic and sustainable development, justice, freedom and security.

Negotiations for the SPA launched in September 2011, alongside the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), with a view to replacing the outdated 1976 Framework Agreement for Commercial and Economic Cooperation. The Agreement was initialled in September 2014 and was adopted by the European Commission in April 2015. Following the beginning of its provisional application on 1 April 2017, the SPA will be the most comprehensive agreement between the EU and Canada to date, enhancing and building on the range of cooperation established under the 2004 EU-Canada Partnership Agenda. Several parts (around two-thirds) of the Agreement will enter into effect on a provisional basis after signature at the Summit, while the remaining parts will only enter into effect upon ratification by all EU Member States.

The SPA will bring concrete benefits across political, economic, security, judicial, strategic, environmental and social areas. Alongside the SPA, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) will enhance the economic, trade and investment relationship between the EU, bringing jobs and growth.

 The Strategic Partnership Agreement can be found here.

The SPA affirms the cooperation and shared values between the European Union and Canada and reflects the comprehensive, long-standing and strategic nature of the partnership. It provides effective channels for strengthening and extending cooperation and lays the ground for effective joint cooperation in multilateral fora.

The SPA counts in total 34 Articles and comprises of:

  • A Preamble as an introductory statement of the Agreement, setting out the Agreement’s purpose, underlying principles and philosophy and an outline of cooperation to date;
  • Seven Titles which concern the Basis for Cooperation; Human Rights, Fundamental Freedoms, Democracy and the Rule of Law; International Peace and Security and Effective Multilateralism; Economic and Sustainable Development; Justice, Freedom and Security; Political Dialogue and Consultation Mechanisms; and Final Provisions;

The Agreement is based on the values that the EU and Canada are sharing and projecting worldwide in fundamental areas such as human rights, non-proliferation and the promotion of international peace and stability.

The cornerstone principles of the partnership are dialogue, mutual respect, equal partnership, multilateralism, consensus and the respect for international law.

The EU and Canada commit to upholding democratic principles and human rights, to advancing democracy, including free and fair elections, and the importance of the rule of law for effective democratic governance.


The Agreement will enhance cooperation in foreign and security policy, with a focus on the non-proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD); combatting illicit trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW); the fight against terrorism; promoting international peace and stability; and effective multilateralism.


On economic development, a scheme for dialogue and cooperation on global economic issues is laid out. Fostering free trade and investment through the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) and Cooperation on customs and taxation is included. 

The EU and Canada commit to promoting sustainable development, supporting inclusive economic development and reducing poverty. To that end, the establishment of a policy dialogue on development cooperation is foreseen. The Agreement also recognises the importance of the energy sector, the need of high-standards of environmental protection and the need to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change. High-level dialogues on energy, environment and climate change shall be maintained under the new Agreement and experts' dialogues and the exchange of best practice in other policy areas of common interest are encouraged.

The Title has a focus on citizens' well-being and the promotion of contacts between people as bases for continued cooperation, the promotion of exchange and dialogue, as well as increasing the resilience of societies and emergency management;


This Title covers the strengthening of the existing cooperation as well as the development of judicial cooperation in civil and commercial matters. Fields of strengthened cooperation include law enforcement; the fight against organised crime and corruption, money laundering, the financing of terrorism, cybercrime, and illicit drugs; migration, asylum and border management, data protection, as well as consular protection.


This section looks at the strengthening of political dialogue and consultation, through ongoing contacts, exchanges and consultations and by employing the newly-established mechanisms such as the Joint Ministerial Committee and the Joint Cooperation Committee.

The SPA will enhance cooperation in key sectoral policy areas, including agriculture, fisheries, international ocean and maritime policy, rural development, international transportation, employment, and circumpolar issues including science and technology.

Shared values are to be expressed concretely through binding political clauses mandated by EU Member States, and applied consistently to all partners. Accordingly, the EU and Canada should project their shared values worldwide in such fundamental areas as human rights, non-proliferation and the fight against terrorism.

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