EU, Canada pledge to work together in building global post-Covid recovery

The leaders' summit announces a new strategic partnership on raw materials

Photo: EPA Canada's PM Justin Trudeau (C), European Council President Charles Michel (L) and President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen (R) arrive for a press conference of a EU-Canada Summit at the European Council in Brussels, 15 June 2021.

The Canada-EU Leaders' Summit ended on 15 June with a joint statement by the Canadian PM Justin Trudeau, the President of the European Council Charles Michel, and the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen. During the Summit, the leaders made a firm commitment to work together to end Covid-19 and build a global recovery that creates jobs and opportunities for their people, and grows the middle class, the statement said.

They also pledged to continue fighting climate change and protecting the environment, increasing collaboration on technology and innovation, and advancing international peace and security. The leaders renewed their commitment to promoting shared values such as democracy, human rights, gender equality, and the rule of law.

The leaders announced a new strategic partnership on raw materials to help ensure the security of supply chains for the critical minerals and metals that are essential to the transition to a cleaner and digitized economy, including for use in electric vehicles and advanced battery storage. The new partnership will also advance collaboration on research and innovation in raw material extraction and processing, and create new trade opportunities and private and public investment for our businesses.

The leaders also reaffirmed the strong trade ties between Canada and the EU under the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), which is creating opportunities for businesses and good, middle-class jobs for workers on both sides of the Atlantic. To build on this relationship, the leaders advanced an Authorized Economic Operator Mutual Recognition Agreement that will simplify border procedures and speed up the flow of trade between Canada and the EU, while enhancing security measures to ensure the safety and security of Canadians. For Canadian businesses, this means more predictability at the border and fewer fees and delays.

To support cooperation on pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response, the leaders agreed to launch a new bilateral Dialogue on Health. The dialogue will also enhance engagement between Canada and the EU on other priority health issues, such as mental health.

The leaders announced the launch of several initiatives to coordinate action against climate change and biodiversity loss. This included a joint Ocean Partnership Forum to facilitate industry and other stakeholders in sharing their perspectives on how we can better protect and facilitate the sustainable use of our oceans. They also announced the launch of an action plan to help promote sustainability, environmental stewardship, and climate action in agriculture. Sustainable agriculture and food systems have an essential role to play in fighting climate change, and this initiative will include joint workshops with farmers, industry, and non-governmental organizations.

The leaders committed to expanding their cooperation under the Canada-EU Digital Dialogue and the Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence. Canada and the EU will advance projects and workshops that support cross-border digital initiatives and solutions, which will help strengthen a post-pandemic recovery of businesses, while driving new investments and trade in digital technologies.

The leaders agreed to take steps toward Canada becoming an associate member of Horizon Europe, the EU's flagship research and innovation programme. This would enable Canadian researchers to have the same access and privileges as EU researchers do.

PM Trudeau also reaffirmed Canada's role as a participant in an EU permanent structured cooperation project on military mobility. The project will enable free and fast movement of personnel and assets within the EU to better keep our people safe -- a first for a non-EU-country, alongside the US and Norway. It will also further reinforce cooperation between security and defence partners across the Atlantic.

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