EUROPE AND CANADA SIGN HISTORIC NEW AGREEMENT


DN: IP/96/1176     Date: 1996-12-18

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The European Union  and Canada have reached a comprehensive new understanding
that will  set relations on a  sure footing  well into the next  century. The
understanding  is contained  in  a Joint  Political  Declaration, and  an EU-
Canada  Action Plan,  both formally  adopted on  17 December  at an EU-Canada
Summit  meeting in  Ottawa.  It heralds  the  most wide-ranging  programme of
cooperation so  far undertaken  in the  history of  EU-Canada relations.  The
Action Plan covers  economic and trade relations, foreign policy and security
issues,  transnational  issues, and  the  encouragement  of  a  range of  new
transatlantic links. This was attended  by Jean Chrétien, the  Canadian Prime
Minister,  John Bruton, the Irish Prime Minister and current President of the
European Council  and  Sir  Leon  Brittan,  Vice-President  of  the  European
Commission.

The  EU and  Canada are  major economic  partners. During 1995  EU-Canada was
worth $  38  billion,  whilst  reciprocal  direct  investment  reached  $  64
billion.  Today's understanding will  boost trade and investment  by creating
a  stable,  predictable  framework  for  business  to  grow.  Notwithstanding
certain difficulties in specific areas  of their economic relations,  the two
sides have  continued to  open up  new avenues  of cooperation  in fields  as
diverse as science and technology,  higher education and training  and mutual
agreement of standards, etc.

The Action  Plan builds on  these and other  programmes, which  will together
form  a  matric  of   interrelated  actions  to  support   existing  economic
activities between  Canada, the  European Union  and its  Member States.  The
Action plan promises to instill  a new sense of purpose and dynamism into EU-
Canada economic relations.

Following the entry  into force of the  Treaty on European Union  in November
1993  (the Maastricht  Treaty),  Canada and  the  European Union  initiated a
regular dialogue  on  political and  security  questions.  In many  areas  of
foreign  and security policy,  the EU  and Canada have  broadly convergent or
complementary interest  (eg. the Balkans,  the Middle  East, Central  Africa,
Central and  Eastern Europe).  Similarly the  two sides  have  embarked on  a
fruitful exchange on  Euro-Atlantic security issues as well as cooperation on
global  security, disarmament and non-proliferation,  and on human rights and
democracy,  among other  topics.  The  Joint  Declaration and  the  EU-Canada
Action Plan set out priority areas for such exchanges.

The  EU and  Canada are still  at an  early stage of  cooperation on critical
issues of  common concern in the  area of  justice and home affairs,  such as
migration   and  asylum,   the  fight   against   terrorism  and   combatting
international organized  crime.  The  Action  Plan  lays  down  a  number  of
practical steps whereby the  EU and Canada can pool their efforts  and pursue
joint cooperation.

Conscious of the need to build new bridges between the  peoples of the EU and
Canada,  the  Action   Plan  identifies  non-institutional  linkages   to  be
encouraged,  with particular  emphasis  on  educational and  cultural  links,
science  and   technology  cooperation,  business-to-business  contacts   and
people-to-people links.

The  joint EU-Canada  Action  Plan  will not  entail  the setting-up  of  new
machinery.  Instead, the Plan sets out  a far-ranging agenda for joint action
using  the establishment  instruments  for  cooperation  between the  EU  and
Canada notably the EC-Canada Framework Agreement  for Commercial Cooperation.
The Action Plan signals  a new  commitment by both sides  to an enhanced  and
strengthened EU-Canada transatlantic relationship in the future.

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