Joint Declaration of the Canada-EU Strategic Partnership Agreement Joint Ministerial Committee Canada and the EU: A progressive and dynamic strategic partnership
Today, Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the Commission (HRVP), co-chaired a meeting of the Joint Ministerial Committee (JMC) of the Canada-EU Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA). The meeting reaffirmed the intention of the two parties to continue to collaborate closely in a global environment in which our shared challenges are both daunting and systemic and, as such, require coordinated regional or global action.
- Based upon the shared commitment of Canada and the EU to fundamental democratic values, the rule of law, respect for international law, a progressive international policy agenda, inclusive trade, sustainable development and effective multilateralism, the JMC agenda covered strengthening the Canada-EU relationship, including through robust provisional application of the signature bilateral Agreements; the SPA and the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA); key global issues and the importance of multilateral cooperation in addressing them; and working closely together to address current challenges in international peace and security.
Strengthening Canada-EU bilateral relations
- The JMC received the annual report on the state of EU-Canada relations of the SPA Joint Cooperation Committee of senior officials and approved its recommendations. The annual report demonstrates both the depth and breadth of Canada-EU cooperation, ever more important in today’s challenging world, and how the SPA has encouraged new areas of cooperation such as in development assistance, and employment and social affairs.
- The JMC reaffirmed that CETA embodies the shared commitment of Canada and the EU to an inclusive international trade agenda and the fight against protectionism. The first meeting of the ministerial-level CETA Joint Committee was held on September 26, 2018, in Montréal. The meeting allowed the co-chairs to review the progress made by the various specialised committees established under CETA, take stock of the status of the implementation of the Agreement and discuss how to work together in order to ensure further progress toward full and effective implementation of CETA, creating new opportunities for people on both sides of the Atlantic. They also adopted recommendations on trade, climate action and the Paris Agreement; trade and gender; and promoting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
- On people-to-people ties, the JMC highlighted the contribution of academic and researcher mobility and welcomed the ongoing exchange of information in the youth field to strengthen Canada-EU relations. The JMC agreed to explore how to facilitate the mobility of Indigenous Inuit across the Canada-Greenland border to enhance economic, social and cultural opportunities for isolated northern Indigenous peoples in the Arctic, which would reflect a renewed relationship with Indigenous peoples based on the recognition of rights, respect, cooperation and partnership.
Global issues and multilateral cooperation
- The JMC agreed that a rules-based international order is an essential underpinning to our collective security and prosperity. Canada and the EU committed to working together to strengthen that order by promoting effective multilateralism, with the UN at its core. They reiterated their strong support for preserving and strengthening the rules-based multilateral trading system centred on the World Trade Organisation (WTO), and welcomed the ongoing efforts to modernise and reform the WTO to improve its transparency, monitoring, dispute-settlement mechanism and rule-making functions as necessary elements to create a level playing field and to fight all forms of protectionism.
- The JMC committed to continue supporting international election observation as a key part of broader efforts to reinforce democratic institutions and practices. The JMC noted the close cooperation in the recent elections in Zimbabwe and discussed how best to cooperate during the upcoming elections in Ukraine to ensure a free, fair and transparent process. The JMC also requested officials to work toward a new Administrative Arrangement on Canada’s participation in EU Election Observation Missions.
- The JMC committed to continuing to work together in relevant multilateral fora, including the UN Human Rights Council and the UN General Assembly’s Third Committee, in order to promote and protect the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms and the rules-based international order. Canada and the EU also reiterated their commitment to promote and protect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of women and girls, advance gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls, fight against all forms of discrimination and violence against women and integrate a gender perspective in all policy and programming areas, including women, peace and security. Additionally, Canada and the EU intend to pursue their commitment to women, peace and security leading up to and continuing beyond the 20th anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 in 2020.
- The JMC noted the significance of the first formal Women Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (WFMM) held in Montréal on September 21 and 22, 2018, and the enthusiastic support of participants for working together to leverage the foreign minister function; promote women’s political participation, democracy, and peace and security; and identify opportunities for multilateral and bilateral initiatives to further advance women’s and girls’ empowerment. The JMC took note of possible follow-up opportunities, as well as the option of pursuing a form of WFMM in future years.
- On climate change, the JMC agreed with the UN Secretary-General’s recent statement at UN High-Level Week that climate change is the defining issue of our time and also with the recent UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5oC (SR15), which states that limiting global warming to 1.5oC would require rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society. The JMC called for robust guidance to support the ambitious implementation of the Paris Agreement at the upcoming UN Framework Convention on Climate Change’s Conference of the Parties (COP24) in Katowice, Poland, to be held from December 3 to 14, 2018. Regarding the domestic implementation of the Paris Agreement, areas of convergence and concrete opportunities for bilateral exchange of experience were identified at the Canada-EU High-Level Dialogue on Climate Change in Brussels, Belgium, on May 24, 2018. The JMC also recognised the need for greater global ambition and action from state and non-state actors to reach the Paris Agreement objectives. The JMC also stated that the mobilisation of stakeholders is crucial.
- The JMC acknowledged the clear nexus between climate and energy. It reaffirmed the shared commitment to the High-Level Energy Dialogue (HLED), recognised the significant progress made under its Joint Action Plan and looked forward to the next HLED. The JMC further acknowledged successful multilateral cooperation in 2018, notably under the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) Mission Innovation (MI) Ministerial meetings, hosted by the EU and Nordic partners; the Ministerial Meeting on Climate Action (MOCA) hosted by the EU, Canada and China in September 2017 and June 2018; and the G7 Joint Ministerial meetings on “Working together on climate change, oceans and clean energy,” hosted by Canada. Canada will continue to work closely with the EU in preparation for the 2019 CEM-MI Ministerial meetings, to be hosted by Canada, which will leverage valuable partnerships and opportunities to accelerate clean growth strategies and a global low-carbon energy future.
- As a concrete expression of synergies between climate action and air-quality issues and building on the efforts of the Arctic Council, Canada and the EU reaffirmed their respective priorities to reduce emissions of black carbon. They agreed to work to implement the recommendations outlined in the Arctic Council’s Expert Group on Black Carbon and Methane Summary of Progress and Recommendations.
- The JMC noted the extensive work undertaken during Canada’s G7 presidency on the international oceans agenda, including on micro-plastics. It also encouraged respective experts to conclude a Canada-EU Oceans Partnership, building on long-standing cooperation, including High-Level Dialogues, the Galway Statement and the Joint Declaration on efforts to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.
International peace and security
- The JMC acknowledged the importance of the transatlantic relationship for peace, security and prosperity on both sides of the Atlantic. The partnership, based on mutual respect and shared values and interests, remains indispensable—especially at a time of major geopolitical challenges that no individual country can resolve on its own. The JMC reiterated the shared commitment to cooperate closely on all pressing international humanitarian crises and peace and security challenges, including in Russia and Ukraine, Syria, Iraq, Iran, DPRK and Mali, Venezuela and Myanmar/Burma.
- Cooperation in security and defence constitutes an integral pillar of the Canada-EU strategic partnership, as confirmed by the dedicated annual Security and Defence Dialogue, held most recently on October 23, 2018, in Ottawa. The EU appreciates Canada’s continued support of EU missions and operations and welcomes the participation of Canadian police in EU missions in Ukraine (EUAM Ukraine) and the West Bank (EUPOLCOPPS). It looks forward to the deployment of Canadians with the EU capacity-building mission in Mali (EUCAP Sahel Mali) in the coming months, and to further discussions about additional missions where Canada could contribute.
- The JMC remained committed to deepening cooperation on countering hybrid threats, cyber security and strategic communications. The JMC welcomed strengthened EU-NATO cooperation in these areas, in line with the two joint declarations and implementation of the 74 common proposals, including via the Europe-based centres of excellence on cyber, hybrid and strategic communications in Tallinn, Estonia; Helsinki, Finland; and Riga, Latvia, respectively, as well as NATO's Hub for the South, in Naples, Italy. Canada appreciates the EU’s active participation in the Canada-led Rapid Response Mechanism to counter foreign interference in democratic processes, a key outcome of Canada’s G7 presidency.
- The JMC took note of the good progress made in the ongoing negotiations concerning the Canada-EU Passenger Name Records (PNR) Agreement in order to find appropriate solutions for the concerns raised by the European Court of Justice in July 2017. The use of PNR data remains an important tool to fight terrorism and other crimes.