European Union External Action

Canada and the EU

2017 is shaping up to be a historic year for Canada and the European Union thanks to the approval of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) and the Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA). These latest developments could not have come at a better time: this year, Canada turns 150 and the European Union marks the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, an opportunity to celebrate Canada's continued role as a friend and a natural ally with whom the EU shares common values, deeply rooted in shared cultural and historic experiences. As partners in the G7/G20, the EU and Canada pursue common goals through international institutions and together promote and defend democratic principles, human rights, the rule of law and good governance around the world.

The framework for this relationship is set out in the Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA), an update of the 1976 Framework Agreement for Commercial and Economic Cooperation.


Strengthening strategic cooperation

The SPA reflects more recent global developments, advancing Canada-EU foreign policy goals while providing a platform for joint international action. It reinforces cooperation in strategic areas such as:

  • international peace and security
  • human rights
  • environmental protection
  • research
  • innovation
  • energy security
  • education.

Working together on these issues of shared interest and responsibility, the EU holds regular consultations with Canada, including Summits between the Canadian Prime Minister and the Presidents of the European Council and the European Commission, ministerial consultations and dialogues of the Political Directors. Additionally, there are ongoing specific consultations on regional and global issues ranging from energy, environment and climate change to non-proliferation, defence and security matters.

Canada also participates 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. Additionally, Canada and the EU join forces on electoral observation missions.

A strong supporter of free trade, Canada has always been a natural ally for the EU. In 2016, Canada was the EU's 10th most important trading partner, accounting for 1.9 % of the total external trade with the EU. In turn, as Canada's second most important trading partner, the EU accounted for around 9.6 % of Canada's total external trade and the total value of the two-way trade between the EU and Canada was €64.3 billion for goods and €30.1 billion for services (2015). For more information on EU-Canada trade, please click here

CETA

EU-Canada trade and economic activity will be further boosted by the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). Signed at the EU-Canada Summit in Brussels in October 2016, this agreement is not just one of the most ambitious trade agreements, the EU has ever concluded, it is also the most progressive. CETA goes beyond just removing customs duties and contains ambitious chapters on sustainable development, labour and the environment. It offers significant benefits for the economies, businesses and consumers in both Canada and the EU.

After approval in the European Parliament in February 2017, CETA was adopted by both chambers of the Canadian Parliament and Royal Assent was granted by the Governor General on 16 May 2017. CETA will take full effect once all the national parliaments of the EU Member States have also ratified the agreement, as the agreement was concluded as a so-called mixed EU agreement. This procedure has been completed already in Latvia, Denmark, Spain, Croatia and Malta  and is well underway in a number of other EU Member States.

However, provisional application of the vast majority of CETA will allow for a meaningful application of its substance right from the start. The European Commission and the Canadian government have agreed to set the date of 21 September 2017 to start the provisional application of the agreement.

For more information on CETA, please click here.

 

EU countries Finland, Sweden and Denmark (via Greenland) all have Arctic territories and are members of the Arctic Council, as is Canada. The EU itself enjoys the rights of an active observer at the Arctic Council. This enables the EU to better understand and address concerns of Arctic partners while developing its EU Arctic Policy in close cooperation between the European Commission, the European Parliament and EU countries.

As the preeminent forum for Arctic cooperation, an important element of the Council is the inclusion of the Arctic indigenous peoples, with special ‘Permanent Participants’ status.

The EU and Canada are already cooperating on Arctic issues, such as marine science research under the new Horizon 2020 programme.

Another area for cooperation concerns the conservation of fish stocks. Canada and the EU agree in principle on the need for a science based, precautionary approach, based on national and international law, notably the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

As well as at sea, Canadian and EU cooperation helps safeguard the skies. An office with responsibility for the relationship with the UN's International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is a branch of the Ottawa Delegation, operating in Montreal since 2005. 

The Delegation of the EU to Canada, in close cooperation with the missions of EU countries, promotes European culture year-round through a number of well-established public diplomacy activities. These events have been effective in increasing the knowledge and understanding of the EU and its relations with Canada.

Europe Day

Each 9 May Europe Day celebrates peace and unity in Europe as it marks the anniversary of the historic 1950 Schuman Declaration, which set out a vision for a new form of European political cooperation which sought to make war between European nations unthinkable. Europe Day is celebrated in Ottawa and in other major Canadian cities.

European Day of Languages

The European Day of Languages is celebrated on 26 September each year. The Delegation, together with EU countries and local public school boards, organises mini-language classes and country-specific displays in Ottawa, among other activities.

European Union Film Festival

Every year, the European Union Film Festival (EUFF) gives Canadians from coast to coast — Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa and Quebec City — a chance to experience Europe's diverse and rich film heritage.

Whether highlighting historic events, political subjects or personal dilemmas, European films are intellectually stimulating and culturally engaging.

The festival runs for 2 weeks in late November/early December, with the exception of Quebec City where it is held in May. It is organised by the Delegation, the Diplomatic Missions and cultural institutes of EU countries in cooperation with Canadian film industry partners.

European Union Christmas Concert

Since 2008, the Delegation, together with EU countries and local choirs, has organised a Christmas concert showcasing the very best of European Christmas carols. The event, held at Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica in Ottawa, has become a Christmas tradition drawing more than 1 500 people.  

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