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Annual Report on the State of Canada-European Union (EU) Relations

June 2018 – January 2020

by the Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) to the Joint Ministerial Committee (JMC)

Table of Contents


  1. The Canada-EU partnership – based on shared values, a long history of close cooperation, and strong people-to-people ties – is vitally important to both Canada and the EU. Our partnership has become even more important in recent years due to the shifting global geopolitical and economic landscape.
  2. This second Report of the Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) under the Canada-EU Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) takes stock of all the major events held, agreements signed and initiatives launched since the last JCC in Brussels on June 28, 2018. This report demonstrates the breadth and depth of Canada-EU cooperation, and the extent to which people on both sides of the Atlantic benefit from stronger bilateral relations. It further testifies to the commitment of Canada and the EU to a set of common values and priorities such as sustainable development, gender equality, inclusive free and fair trade, and a more equitable distribution of the benefits of globalization. It also reflects the determination of Canada and the EU to work together to upholding the rules-based international order (RBIO) and to strengthen the multilateral system.
  3. The SPA is complemented by the expansion of our economic relationship under the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), which reaffirms our collective commitment to open economies. In an era of rising protectionism, our strong partnership, and CETA’s inclusive approach, demonstrate to the world that open borders and open societies can bring shared prosperity.
  4. Canada was honoured to host a Canada-EU Leaders’ Summit on July 17-18, 2019 in Montreal. The Summit provided an opportunity for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and European Council President Donald Tusk to:
    1. emphasize the depth and breadth of the Canada-EU relationship, and our shared commitment to progressive values;
    2. reinforce our shared commitment to multilateralism and the rules-based international order, including for trade;
    3. support inclusive trade and combatting protectionism, and highlight the tangible benefits of CETA already accruing to people and businesses on both sides of the Atlantic; and
    4. demonstrate an ongoing commitment to the transatlantic relationship.
  5. The following concrete initiatives were formalized or announced during the Summit:
    1. a Canada-EU Ocean Partnership to strengthen our joint leadership in protecting oceans, fighting against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, combatting ocean plastic waste and marine litter, and fighting the climate crisis;
    2. a renewed agreement between Canada and the EU to deepen Canada’s participation in EU Election Observation Missions and better support inclusive, credible and transparent elections around the world;
    3. Canada joining the Venice Commission – the Council of Europe's advisory body on constitutional matters – as a full member, to work alongside the EU to contribute to the Commission’s independent expert constitutional advice and democracy promotion in countries in Europe and beyond;
    4. Canada’s commitment to $50 million over five years to support Canadian participation in international teams applying for funding through the EU’s Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe programs, which encourage research and innovation, stimulate economic growth, and create new jobs and opportunities; and
    5. Enhanced cooperation in emerging areas such as new digital technologies, artificial intelligence and cluster cooperation.
  6. While the remainder of this report is a testament to the depth and breadth of Canada-EU relations, we note in particular the launch since the last JCC of formal dialogues in two important emerging policy areas - Employment, Social Affairs and Decent Work, and Digital Issues.

Canada-EU Strategic Partnership Agreement

Provisional Application

  1. The Canada-EU Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) provisionally entered into force on April 1, 2017. To date, twenty EU Member States have ratified the SPA. Together with the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), the SPA launched a more formal and structured relationship between Canada and the EU by establishing an institutional framework for cooperation governed by a Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) of senior officials, a Joint Ministerial Committee (JMC) of Canada’s Foreign Minister and the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the Commission (HRVP), and a Summit at leaders level. The SPA mandates the JCC to provide an annual report to the JMC on the state of the bilateral relationship, to be made public after the JCC. Based on this report, the JMC will make recommendations on the future work of the JCC.
  2. As a framework agreement, the SPA provides the legal basis for reinforcing existing cooperation and initiating new cooperation in a wide range of areas of shared interest and responsibility such as: human rights, democracy and rule of law; international peace and security and effective multilateralism; economic cooperation and sustainable development; and justice, freedom and security. Since the start of provisional application, Canada-EU cooperation and dialogue has grown to now encompass over 25 different policy areas and regional geopolitical consultations. As a further reflection of the growing relationship, Canada and the EU also reached agreement this year on a Staff Exchange Agreement between Global Affairs Canada (GAC) and the European External Action Service (EEAS).
  3. Since the most recent JCC in Brussels in June 2018, a JMC was held on November 6, 2018 in Montreal, and a Leaders’ Summit took place on July 17-18, 2019, also in Montreal. This report details many of the concrete outcomes of these various high-level meetings.

Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law

  1. Through the SPA, Canada and the EU committed to advance shared values and the prosperity of our citizens in a safer, fairer and more inclusive world. Canada and the EU place a strong emphasis on human rights, democracy and the rule of law in our domestic and foreign policies. The SPA's provisions in these areas represent key commitments for the partnership.

Human Rights

  1. Again this year, the annual Canada-EU Human Rights Consultations, as well as regular contacts ahead of sessions of the Human Rights Council/UNGA Third Committee, confirmed the broad convergence of views on the main human rights issues on the agenda in international forums. Canada and the EU maintained our close cooperation on: the human rights situation in North Korea, Myanmar and Iran; the moratorium and abolition of the death penalty; rights of the child; rights of women and combating violence against women; LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex) rights; and the protection of human rights defenders. Other issues of common interest discussed during the bilateral Human Rights Consultations included the rights of indigenous peoples and digital inclusion.
  2. In 2018-2019, Canada-EU cooperation on gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls has been particularly active and successful in advancing this shared priority. In September 2018, Foreign Minister Freeland and HRVP Mogherini co-chaired the first formal Women Foreign Ministers Meeting in Montreal, which sent a powerful signal of women’s leadership worldwide. The meeting was an historic opportunity to harness the perspectives of the sixteen participating women Foreign Ministers in addressing some of the world’s most pressing challenges. The meeting underscored the benefits that come from integrating a gender-perspective in advancing peace and security, strengthening democracy, and fostering prosperity.
  3. Canada and the EU have also been very active in advancing our agenda on trade and gender equality. We developed and started implementing a joint action plan on gender equality, with early initiatives focussing on gender equality laws and policies, and policies and programs to support women entrepreneurs to increase their access to trade. Canada also led a Business Women’s International Trade Mission to the EU in autumn 2018. Finally, as part of Canada’s G7 Presidency in 2018, the EU - with a pledge of €72 million - along with Germany, Japan, the U.K. and the World Bank, joined forces with Canada for a total investment of $3.8 billion for the education of women and girls in crisis and conflict situations.

International Peace and Security and Effective Multilateralism

  1. Canada and the EU share an unwavering commitment to international peace and security and a firm belief that these policy objectives are best achieved through effective multilateralism, with the United Nations at its core. We are equally committed to upholding the rules-based international order (RBIO) which has underpinned global security and prosperity since the Second World War. To translate these shared commitments into action, Canada and the EU engage in strong partnerships in key multilateral processes such as UN peace operations, the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the UN Global Compacts on Migration and on Refugees and the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding

  1. Canada and the EU are partners within the International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding (IDPS), which is a unique political forum comprising countries affected by conflict and fragility, development partners, and civil society. Canada has co-chaired the IDPS with Sierra Leone since 2018, and the EU has been a key member of the IDPS Steering Group. Within the IDPS, Canada and the EU have worked closely together in drafting and attaining a consensus on the new IDPS 2019-21 Peace Vision, which was launched on the margins of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) High-Level Political Forum in New York on July 15, 2019. The Peace Vision sets the framework and specific commitments for multilateral cooperation within the IDPS over the next two years.

Women, Peace and Security

  1. To make real progress on the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda, Canada and the EU partner within the G7 WPS Partnerships Initiative that was launched in 2018 during Canada’s G7 Presidency. Under the Initiative, each G7 member partners with a fragile or conflict-affected country to accelerate the implementation of the WPS agenda on the ground. Canada partners with Côte d’Ivoire and the EU with Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Initiative is underway with substantial progress reported already. Canada and the EU also endorse the UN Secretary General’s vision for reforming the UN system to be fit for purpose in the 21st century. This includes the need for developing more effective approaches and instruments for preventing conflict and sustaining peace.

CSDP Missions

  1. The most recent (ministerial-level) JMC identified security and defence as one of the key priority areas for Canada-EU cooperation, based on the similar, comprehensive approach that Canada and the EU take towards crisis management and peace support operations. Canada has been a third-country contributor to EU Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) civilian and military missions since 2003. Over the past year, Canada has expanded its participation and is now deploying police officers to the EU civilian missions in Mali (EUCAP Sahel Mali) and Iraq (EUAM Iraq) in addition to the Palestinian Territories (EUPOL COPPS) and Ukraine (EUAM Ukraine).

Security and Defence Dialogue

  1. The 4th and 5th annual Canada-EU Security and Defence Dialogues were held on October 23, 2018 in Ottawa, and on January 29, 2020 in Brussels. These dialogues demonstrated the close alignment of Canadian and EU approaches to peace and stabilization efforts. Discussions focused on defence capabilities, crisis response tools, conflict prevention, CSDP missions, WPS, and hybrid threats. In addition, the EU’s annual EU Security and Defence symposiums in Ottawa have proven to be a useful forum for discussion between the EU and the Canadian security and defence community; the 5th Security and Defence Symposium was held on March 20, 2019.

Hybrid Threats

  1. In October 2018, Canada became a member of the European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats (Hybrid CoE), based in Helsinki, Finland, and both Canada and the EU are part of the CoE Steering Board. The Hybrid CoE is a hub of expertise that aims to fuse analyses of hybrid threats originating in NATO, the EU, Member States, the private sector and academia in order to enhance capabilities, resilience and preparedness to counter hybrid threats. Since joining, Canadian officials have regularly attended events and educational workshops held by the Hybrid CoE. In January and March 2019, the Hybrid CoE also delivered training on hybrid threats and countering electoral interference to hundreds of public servants in Ottawa in advance of the 2019 federal elections in Canada. In December 2019, Canada deployed a liaison analyst to the Hybrid CoE, to support its analytical capacity, to inform the Hybrid CoE of Canadian efforts in the relevant subject areas, and to provide analysis and advice to key departments in the Government of Canada covering security and defence, as well as to partners/stakeholders.
  2. Increased cooperation to tackle foreign interference has also been achieved by linking the G7 Rapid Response Mechanism (RRM) and the EU's Rapid Alert System (RAS) more closely. The RRM Coordination Unit, located in Canada, is now partly included into the technical platform supporting the RAS cooperation. This will make sharing of information between the two systems more systematic, efficient and effective.

Election Observation Missions

  1. Following a request from the JMC in 2018, officials have finalized a new Administrative Arrangement on Canada’s participation in EU Election Observation Missions (EOMs). This will expand our practical cooperation to support democracy through the promotion of inclusive, credible and transparent elections.

Restrictive Measures (Sanctions) Cooperation

  1. Over 2018/19, Canada and the EU continued ongoing consultation and coordination on restrictive measures (sanctions) issues, including listings. In June 2018, Canada and the EU announced restrictive measures against Myanmar military officials who were involved in atrocities and human rights violations in Rakhine State. In March 2019, Canada and the EU, along with the U.S., announced additional restrictive measures against individuals and entities in Russia.


  1. Canada and the EU remain close, like-minded partners in the global fight against terrorism. Both Canada and the EU contribute in the framework of the Global Coalition against Daesh. The last annual Canada-EU Bilateral Counter-Terrorism Dialogue was held on July 6, 2017 in Ottawa to exchange views on counter-terrorism and on preventing and countering violent extremism (CVE); the EU has proposed hosting the next Canada-EU Bilateral Counter-Terrorism Dialogue in Brussels in early 2020. As part of the external dimension of the European Programme for Critical Infrastructure Protection, Canada and the EU exchange information and good practices.
  2. At the multilateral level, Canada and the EU worked to enhance the role of the UN on counter-terrorism through the establishment of the Office for Counterterrorism and the revised mandate of the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED). Canada and the EU also work together in the Global Counter Terrorism Forum (GCTF). This year, the two partners agreed to link up the GCTF working group for Capacity-building in West Africa, co-chaired by Canada and Algeria, with the GCTF working group for Capacity-building in East Africa, co-chaired by the EU and Egypt. A joint GCTF working group meeting is expected to be held early in 2020. Both partners agree on the critical importance of CVE in this context.
  3. Under the Canadian G7 Presidency, Canada and the EU agreed to the Toronto Commitments made by G7 Foreign and Security Ministers, which built upon earlier commitments to tackle terrorism, violent extremism and transnational crime. The Ministers tasked a number of these commitments to the Roma-Lyon Group (RLG) on Terrorism and Transnational Crime. The Toronto Commitments reflect joint priorities in such areas as: integrating gender equality considerations into counterterrorism efforts; developing an action plan on CVE; managing foreign terrorist fighter returnees and their accompanying travellers by integrating approaches and initiatives on disengagement, rehabilitation and reintegration.
  4. Under France’s G7 Presidency, Canada and the EU agreed to new Paris Commitments, which further build upon the Toronto Commitments and joint priorities. They reflect specific commitments made by Security Ministers to take action to: combat the smuggling of migrants and human trafficking networks; counter violent extremism and terrorist use of the Internet; manage foreign terrorist fighters and their families; and combat environmental crime. G7 members also agreed to the Dinard Declaration on combatting organized crime and criminal networks in the Sahel region. Under Canada’s G7 Presidency, gender perspectives were mainstreamed into all Roma-Lyon Group working groups, and France has continued this practice.

Key Geopolitical Issues

  1. Ukraine remained high on the Canada-EU agenda in 2018-2019. Both partners maintained our principled position with regard to the support for the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognised borders, condemning the illegal annexation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol by the Russian Federation, and calling for full implementation of the Minsk agreements.
  2. Both Canada and the EU have imposed restrictive measures (sanctions) as a response to Russia’s unacceptable actions in Crimea and eastern Ukraine. Canada and the EU have coordinated the size and scope of restrictive measures, and we are in agreement that unity on sanctions among international partners (including the G7) has been effective and remains critical to sustaining pressure on Russia to implement its obligations under the Minsk agreements. Canada and the EU, together with the U.S., announced a new set of sanctions in March 2019 as part of a coordinated response to the Russian Federation’s aggressive actions against Ukrainian vessels and personnel in or near the Kerch Strait in November 2018. Canada and the EU continue calling on Russia to not hinder the free passage of vessels to and from the Sea of Azov in accordance with international law. Canada and the EU also supported the activity of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine in its vital role to facilitate the implementation of the Minsk agreements.
  3. The robust engagement of the G7 Support Group in Kyiv (G7 SGU) enhances coordination between the G7 and the Government of Ukraine (GoU). Under Canada’s 2018 G7 presidency, the G7 SGU focused on accelerating the implementation of reforms as outlined in the Government of Ukraine’s Action Plan 2020. Some mutual areas of focus included the promotion of the privatisation reform, progress on the establishment of an anti-corruption court and law, and withdrawal of e-declaration obligations for NGOs, which were key areas of priority also for the EU. Canada and the EU continued to play a leading role in this group under France’s 2019 G7 presidency.
  4. In addition to Canada contributing directly to the EU’s EUAM Ukraine, the EU mission and the bilateral Canadian Police Mission enjoy very good cooperation on the ground in support of the reform of the National Police of Ukraine. The European Endowment for Democracy (EED) manages a C$5 million contribution to provide grants for Ukrainian civil society development. In several sectors, notably small and medium-sized business development, decentralisation and public administration reform, there has been good coordination leading to well calibrated complementary interventions.
  5. Canada and the EU, together with the U.S., continue to cooperate on support to Ukrainian energy security and energy reform initiatives, including through a September 2019 Canada-U.S.-EU joint mission to support energy security and resiliency planning. The G7 has been a forum to discuss this issue since 2014.
  6. Canada and the EU have also joined efforts bilaterally on other reform initiatives in Ukraine. Both sides have been actively involved, in particular, with judiciary reform including of the Supreme Court. In preparation for the third Ukraine Reform Conference (URC) held in Toronto in July 2019, Canada collaborated closely with the EU, particularly with the European Commission’s Support Group for Ukraine. Canada is continuing to work with the EU to assist Lithuania in organising the next conference in Vilnius in July 2020.
  7. Canada and the EU provided election observation missions, through ENEMO (European Network of Election Monitoring Organizations) and CANADEM respectively, to Ukraine for both the presidential and parliamentary elections in 2019. Their work was complementary and information and analysis were shared between the missions.
  8. Canada and the EU have taken similar positions with regards to Russia's responsibility for the conflict in eastern Ukraine and the need for Russia to undertake all necessary measures to re-establish peace and stability, in particular by fully implementing the Minsk agreements. To this end, both partners welcomed the exchange of prisoners between Russia and Ukraine in September 2019 and the release of detainees on 29 December 2019 as agreed earlier in December at the Normandy Summit in Paris. Both the EU and Canada have expressed the hope that all sides will use the window of opportunity created by the latest Normandy Summit in order to move towards resolution of the conflict in Donbas, which has already lasted for five years and taken the lives of more than 13,000 people.
  9. Canada and the EU agree that Russia needs to respect the principles of the rules-based international order. At the same time, Canada and the EU are ready to cooperate with Russia on foreign policy issues and on other areas where doing so is in our interest. Both Canada and the EU are committed to reinforcing people to people contacts and supporting civil society and independent media in Russia. Canada and the EU coordinate our efforts on sanctions policy within the G7+ working group as well as security and defence cooperation in areas such as cyber security and responding to hybrid threats.
  10. Canada and the EU have held multiple discussions on China, including at the July 17‑18, 2019, Canada-EU Summit, and between Minister Freeland and High Representative Mogherini. In the G7 Foreign Ministers Communique of April 6, 2019, Canada and the EU, together with France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the U.K. and the U.S., expressed deep concern about the recent arbitrary actions of Chinese authorities, including the arbitrary detention and sentencing of Canadian citizens, and the violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and the immunities provided for in Article 39.2. Canada is grateful for the EU’s other actions of support, including the EU statement on December 21, 2018.
  11. Canada and the EU also share concerns about the situation in Hong Kong. On August 17, 2019, Canada and the EU released a Joint Statement calling for urgent steps to de-escalate the situation, and to ensure broad-based and inclusive dialogue with all key stakeholders. Canada and the EU continue to emphasize the need to uphold Hong Kong’s fundamental freedoms and high degree of autonomy under the ‘one country, two systems’ framework, as enshrined in the Basic Law and international agreements.
  12. The conflict in Syria has resulted in complex humanitarian, security and political impacts. The situation is dire; people are suffering and communities have been devastated. Canada and the EU support the efforts of the UN Special Envoy to pursue intra-Syrian negotiations in Geneva, focused on a genuine and inclusive political transition in line with UN Security Council resolution (UNSCR) 2254. Canada and the EU continue to be active members of taskforces under the International Syria Support Group, to press for immediate, unimpeded and sustained needs-based humanitarian action and the cessation of hostilities in Syria. As well, Canada and the EU continue to support accountability efforts, including through the International Impartial and Independent Mechanism (IIIM) – to which Canada has provided $1.4 million and the EU has provided €1.5 million in addition to EU Member States’ contributions – and action against any confirmed use of chemical weapons. In line with that, Canada and the EU both support the work of the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Fact Finding Mission in Syria. The EU, its Member States and Canada have jointly funded a number of humanitarian, stabilization and development partners and initiatives operating inside Syria, facilitating greater coordination and effectiveness.
  13. Canada and the EU continue to support the full and effective implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) to ensure the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear activities. The JCPOA is a key element of the global non-proliferation architecture and a significant diplomatic achievement endorsed unanimously by the UN Security Council in its Resolution 2231 and it subjects Iran’s nuclear program to a rigorous and unprecedented international verification regime. As such, both Canada and the EU regret the decision by the United States to withdraw from the JCPOA and re-impose sanctions. Both Canada and the EU continue to support the mission of the IAEA in monitoring and verifying the implementation of Iran's nuclear commitments in line with resolution 2231. Since the beginning of 2014, Canada has provided C$15 million in voluntary contribution to support the IAEA’s verification efforts in Iran, making Canada a leading contributor to this area of the Agency’s work. The EU High Representative plays a key coordination role as Chair of the Joint Commission overseeing the implementation of the JCPOA. Both Canada and the EU are concerned that Iran is now pursuing activities inconsistent with its JCPOA commitments. They both have urged Iran to revert to full compliance with the JCPOA without delay.
  14. Canada and the EU have the same goals with regard to the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, improving the implementation of UN sanctions against the DPRK, diminishing tensions in the region and improving the human rights situation. Canada and the EU have issued statements condemning the DPRK’s recent test launches of short-range ballistic missiles and have called on the DPRK to take concrete action on denuclearization and refrain from further provocations which could derail denuclearization negotiations. Canada is participating alongside a number of European partners in a multinational maritime surveillance operation to counter North Korea’s sanctions evasion, and is actively contributing to efforts to strengthen sanctions implementation and counter North Korea’s illicit networks. Canada and the EU continue to participate in joint demarches on the implementation of UN sanctions against the DPRK.
  15. Canada and the EU regularly discussed the situation in Venezuela in the framework of bilateral political dialogues and other bilateral meetings over the past year, including at the Ministerial/HRVP level. Canada and the EU share the same concerns about the crisis in Venezuela, including recent acts against the constitutional and democratic functioning of the National Assembly. The use of force by the Maduro regime to prevent opposition Members of the National Assembly from freely accessing the session on January 5 to democratically elect their Governing Board is unacceptable. The statement of the Canada-EU Joint Ministerial Committee (JMC) in November 2018 and the Canada-EU Summit Declaration of July 2019, as well as subsequent statements by Canada and the EU respectively, have conveyed strong messages on areas of key priority, including the release of all political prisoners, inclusive, credible and transparent presidential and legislative elections, and access for humanitarian actors. With the deterioration of the Venezuelan crisis and the current suspension of the EU-supported Norway talks, it is important and urgent to have more concerted efforts by the international community with a view to promoting a negotiated electoral path that allows a sustainable way out of the Venezuelan crisis. Canada has committed almost $55 million in stabilization, humanitarian, and development programming, the bulk of which has been for beneficiaries in Colombia. Overall, the EU has provided more than €170 million since 2018 to support the Venezuelan people.
  16. Canada and the EU share deep concerns about the Myanmar military’s August 2017 “clearance operations” in Rakhine State that led to the exodus of more than 740,000 Rohingya from Myanmar to Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. We also share concerns about recent escalations in conflict in Rakhine since January 2019, which have resulted in over 30,000 newly displaced individuals from across all ethnic communities. Canada, the EU and Norway issued a joint statement on March 14, 2019, calling on all parties to the conflict to exercise restraint and to respect their obligations under international law. We have called on the Myanmar authorities to create conditions conducive for the safe, voluntary, dignified and sustainable return of Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh. Canada and the EU continue to urge Myanmar to address the root causes of conflict through the meaningful implementation of all recommendations outlined in the Kofi Annan-led Advisory Commission on Rakhine State. In an effort to promote peace and reconciliation on a national level, Canada is contributing $4 million over three years (2016-2019) to the Joint Peace Fund set up by the EU to support Myanmar's peace process, aimed at addressing root causes of the conflict between ethnic minority groups, the Government of Myanmar, and the military.
  17. We also continue to work together in international forums to advance accountability for the crimes committed in Myanmar. Canada co-sponsored an EU-led resolution on the human rights situation in Myanmar at the UN Human Rights Council’s 39th session in September 2018, which established an independent investigative mechanism for Myanmar (IIMM) to collect evidence and prepare case files for future criminal proceedings. Our strong multilateral cooperation continues, as evidenced by our collaboration on successive resolutions on Myanmar including at the 40th and 41st sessions of the UN Human Rights Council, and at the UN’s Third Committee. On June 25, 2018, Canada, working in concert with the EU, sanctioned seven individuals for their involvement in the military operations in Rakhine State. Canada and the EU have also continued high-level engagement to seek ways to find a durable solution to the crisis, as evidence by Canada’s Special Envoy to Myanmar Bob Rae’s visit to Brussels in early February 2019. During this visit, Mr. Rae met with a range of high-level EU officials and discussed a variety of issues pertinent to the current crisis, including accountability, regional dynamics, and how to better coordinate our humanitarian responses. Collaboration between Canada and the EU continues to advance accountability for the atrocities committed, meet the needs of vulnerable, crisis-affected populations in Myanmar and Bangladesh, and support Myanmar’s efforts to foster long-lasting peace and reconciliation.

Economic Cooperation and Sustainable Development


  1. CETA is an ambitious and inclusive trade agreement, demonstrating our mutual commitment to the rules-based multilateral trading system and to sustainable development. Most of CETA is an important tool to advance high labour and environmental standards. For example, under CETA, we have created a Civil Society Forum that will bring Canadian and European civil society representatives together to monitor the implementation of the Agreement’s chapters on Trade and Sustainable Development, Environment, and Labour.
  2. Most of CETA has been provisionally applied since September 21, 2017. CETA will be brought into force once all EU Member States ratify the Agreement at national level, thus allowing Canada and the EU to complete their respective ratification processes. As of February 1, 2020, thirteen EU Member States have notified the EU of their ratification of CETA.
  3. CETA's governance structure has now been established. The multiple CETA committees have met at least once and management instruments, such as the rules of procedures for the various committees, are in place. In light of the interest indicated by civil society, the EU and Canada have agreed to measures to make CETA Committees more transparent. Meeting schedules and agendas, as well as joint reports of meetings of committees and bilateral dialogues, are available online on a timely basis to ensure that all stakeholders are informed and can contribute to the effective implementation of the Agreement.
  4. The inaugural meeting of the overarching CETA Joint Committee took place on September 26, 2018 in Montreal. It was co-chaired by Canada's then-Minister for International Trade Diversification, Jim Carr, and the then-European Commissioner for Trade, Cecilia Malmström. In its first meeting, the CETA Joint Committee had a formal exchange of views on the implementation of CETA and reviewed the work carried out by the various specialised committees. The meeting also provided an opportunity to appraise progress in the context of the early review of the trade and sustainable development chapter following the October 2016 agreement on the Joint Interpretative Instrument. The Committee adopted three important recommendations on:
    1. trade, climate action and the Paris Agreement;
    2. trade and gender; and
    3. small and medium-sized enterprises.
    These recommendations have paved the way for enhanced cooperation under CETA on these key issues. The second CETA Joint Committee meeting will take place in 2020 in Brussels.
  5. Key exceptions to provisional application include provisions on investment protection and the Investment Court System (ICS), which can only be brought into force upon final ratification. In anticipation of that time, the inaugural Joint Committee meeting also reviewed the work undertaken to operationalise the CETA Investment Court System once CETA enters into force, in line with the commitments made by the Parties at the signature of CETA.
  6. Meanwhile, CETA provisional application has resulted in the elimination of tariffs on approximately 98% of all Canada and EU products (more than 9,000 tariff lines). By January 2024, duties on an additional one percent of tariff lines will be eliminated. Since provisional application began, two-way trade in goods and services has grown significantly. Since September 2017, Canada and the EU have also reached out to businesses and entrepreneurs to inform and promote the opportunities offered by the Agreement. Canada and the EU commit to ensure further progress towards full and effective implementation of CETA to fulfil its potential in all sectors.

Authorized Economic Operators Programs

  1. At the Canada-EU Summit of July 2019, the parties acknowledged the progress of negotiations towards an agreement on mutual recognition of our respective Authorized Economic Operators (AEO) programs. In September, the parties concluded the discussions of the text of the agreement at services level and have since commenced the internal decision-making procedures to allow the Canada-EU Joint Customs Cooperation Committee to adopt the decision concerning mutual recognition in the second half of 2020. The new AEO Mutual Recognition Agreement will work hand in hand with CETA to further facilitate two-way trade across the Atlantic by simplifying border processes and enhancing the security of the supply chain for registered Canadian and European businesses.

Multilateral Trading System

  1. Canada and the EU share a common resolve for rapid and concerted action to address the unprecedented challenges facing the multilateral trading system. Joint efforts are underway to work with all WTO members on ideas and potential solutions to modernize and strengthen the WTO. Among challenges being faced by the organization, resolution of the Appellate Body (AB) impasse is a clear priority. In this regard, on July 25, 2019, Canada and the EU jointly announced and notified the WTO of our agreement on an interim arbitration appeal mechanism. Operating within the existing framework of WTO rules, the arrangement is the best option to ensure the preservation of access to a binding and enforceable two-stage dispute settlement mechanism until the impasse is resolved. Canada and the EU will continue to work together bilaterally and within the Ottawa Group of like-minded WTO Members to demonstrate leadership in safeguarding and enhancing the multilateral trading system.

Macroeconomic Dialogue

  1. The Canada-EU Macroeconomic Dialogue facilitates the coordination of macroeconomic policies and provides further structure to the already strong cooperation in bilateral and multilateral contexts (G7, G20, IFIs). The most recent Dialogue was held in Ottawa in December 2018. It allowed for a comprehensive exchange of views on the Canadian and European macroeconomic outlooks and led to a better understanding of our respective policy priorities. The Dialogue also helped identify areas of potential mutual interest in addressing global challenges particularly in the context of the G7 and G20. In light of persistent uncertainties and risks facing our economies, and of a continued need to coordinate our positions on a range of global economic policy issues, it was agreed that this exchange would be maintained on its usual annual cycle in early 2020, with efforts to increase regular contact at the technical level throughout the year.

Science, Technology, Innovation and Research

  1. Canada-EU cooperation and dialogue on science, technology and innovation continues to expand, spurred by the entry into force of the SPA and CETA. Canada and the EU are working together to coordinate Canadian and European research and innovation efforts for mutual benefit through meetings of the Canada-EU Joint Scientific and Technological Cooperation Committee (JSTCC). These meetings acknowledge the importance of research and innovation (R&I) policy developments in Canada and the EU as both parties work to reinforce linkages between industry and research to foster innovation and stimulate job creation, economic growth and social welfare. Cooperation is growing in key areas such as: aerospace, agriculture and agri-food, Arctic, ICT, health, marine and ocean, security (first responders), research infrastructure, and researcher mobility.
  2. A key outcome from the 14th JSTCC in 2018 was the identification of migration- and transport-related research as emerging areas for cooperation. Canada co-funded successful Canadian applicants in four joint Canada-EU calls for proposals on migration (e.g. ICT-based solutions to different challenges, international protection of refugees, and understanding mobility patterns). Canada will participate in additional calls on migration in 2020 with the following Canadian organizations as co-funders: the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and Fonds de recherche du Québec - Société et culture (Québec province). The 15th JSTCC meeting is scheduled to take place in Brussels in early 2020. Research concerning green shipping will be further explored between the respective officials involved.
  3. Through Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA), the EU supports the mobility of researchers under its Horizon 2020. Canada is the fourth industrialised country outside Europe in terms of number of participants in MSCA, after the U.S., China, and Australia. Since 2014, 224 Canadian researchers and staff members have been supported by MSCA, their main destinations being UK, France, the Netherlands, Germany, and Denmark. In the same period, 264 Europeans have been hosted by Canadian host organisations, predominantly universities. Over the last year, the MSCA have increased the collaboration with Canada, in particular through collaboration with Mitacs, the Canadian research funding agency, on the Research and Innovation Staff Exchange (RISE) and the first MSCA National Contact Point for Quebec was nominated.
  4. Canada and the EU are developing the framework conditions needed to create a level playing field for researchers from Canada and the EU to cooperate with each other. The EU Framework Programs for Research and Innovation - both Horizon 2020 and the forthcoming Horizon Europe - represent important vehicles for Canada-EU cooperation. With an ambitious proposed budget of €94.1 billion, Horizon Europe (2021-2027) will introduce new features such as the European Innovation Council, research missions to focus on social issues and industrial competitiveness, and new forms of partnerships. On July 18, 2019, as part of the Canada-EU Summit Joint Declaration, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Canada will allocate up to $50 million over the next five years to support Canadian participation in international teams funded through Horizon 2020 or Horizon Europe. This investment will be made through the New Frontier’s Research Fund’s (NFRF) International stream, which is designed to enhance and complement the ongoing efforts of Canada’s federal research funding agencies’ current initiatives in supporting international research.

Responsible Sourcing and Mining

  1. Raw materials play an important role in the economies and sustainable industrial value chains of Canada and the EU. Canada is a global mining leader, a major supplier of raw materials to the EU and an investor in mining projects in the EU, while the EU is an important supplier of mining equipment to the Canadian market and investment in Canada. Canada and the EU share the same values with regard to economic, environmental and social sustainability, transparency and responsible mining, and recognize the importance of these values as the clean energy transition leads to a growing global demand for raw materials. These values are important not only for mining operations and mineral supply chains within Canada and the EU but also for the developing countries from which many raw materials are sourced. Canada and the EU both have in place high environmental and social standards for the mining sector, encourage good business conduct and invest in clean technologies and innovation for the mining sector.
  2. CETA mandated a bilateral dialogue on raw materials to maintain effective cooperation. The first raw materials dialogue took place in Brussels on November 15-16, 2018. Discussions focused on research and innovation priorities, responsible mining and sourcing, public confidence in exploration and mining, and trade and investment flows. A second meeting of the dialogue followed up on these themes on the margins of the 2019 annual World's Premier Mineral Exploration & Mining Convention of the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC 2019) in Toronto, on March 6, 2019. There, Canada and the EU exchanged perspectives on cooperation on raw materials, sustainable supply chains and responsible sourcing standards and initiatives and cooperation, research and innovation, and responsible sourcing. The third raw materials dialogue will take place in Brussels in 2020.
  3. The Canada-EU Mineral Co-operation project, launched by the EU, identified areas of common interest for stakeholders from both sides covering the full mining life-cycle, including regulatory frameworks and sustainability issues. In March 2019, as part of PDAC 2019 program, the EU made presentations promoting investment opportunities in the EU's Member States exploration and mining sectors, and business opportunities within the EU’s innovative mining equipment and services sector. The EU also made presentations sharing its values on sustainable and responsible mining at PDAC 2019.

Forest Products

  1. The second bilateral Dialogue on Forest Products took place on May 24, 2019. The parties discussed trade in forest products, including issues related to certification and interpretation of data requirements for customs declarations, sustainable forests in the fight against climate change, implementation of the EU bioenergy sustainability criteria post-2020 and EU-Canada co-operation on research and innovation.
  2. Both parties agreed to coordinate issues addressed in the Dialogue on Forest Products with other relevant dialogues and committees and to share information related to advances in bio-economy; the cascading use of biomass; deforestation and forest degradation; climate mitigation and adaptation; industrial transformation; and respective standards; developments or updates to long-term low greenhouse gas emissions development strategies under the Paris Agreement related to the forest sector; experiences on forest-based industries’ progress toward a low-emissions and climate resilient future (starting at the 2019 EU Raw Materials Week) as well as on Horizon 2020 Work Programme, advances in bio-economy research and innovation for the transition to a circular, low-carbon economy, and related events, best practices, indicators for bio-economy and case studies. Parties also agreed to continue intersessional discussions and exchange of information, as well as to identify a cooperation agenda for future dialogues.


  1. Since June 2018, Canada and the EU have continued to jointly promote clean energy transitions around the world. Cooperation continued in the context of Canada’s G7 Presidency under the theme of “Building the Energy Systems of Tomorrow”, with key points of focus on developing sustainable energy resources and modernizing power systems. Canada and the EU have also collaborated under the framework of the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) and Mission Innovation (MI), as the European Commission co-hosted the ninth meeting of the CEM and the third meeting of MI-3 (i.e. CEM9/MI-3) with Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland and the Nordic Council of Ministers in 2018, followed by Canada hosting CEM10/MI-4 in May 2019. The European Commission and Canada are involved in all eight MI Innovation Challenges and six CEM initiatives.


  1. In June 2019, Canada, China and the EU co-hosted the third meeting of the Ministerial on Climate Action (MoCA3) in Brussels. Ministers and representatives from approximately 35 governments of major economies and other key players, as well as representatives from various international organizations and the private sector, met to advance discussions on the full implementation of the Paris Agreement and to demonstrate continued political commitment to global action. Focusing on key priorities for this year’s negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Ministers emphasized the importance of agreeing on implementation guidance for the use of international carbon market mechanisms. Discussions at MoCA3 also focused on opportunities to attract private sector investments and participation in support of the implementation of the Paris Agreement, as well as the opportunity presented by this year’s UN Secretary General’s Climate Action Summit and the role of non-state actors in helping drive ambition. The last Canada-EU High-Level Dialogue on Climate Change took place in May 2018 while the next one is expected to take place early in 2020.

Other Environment and Sustainable Development

  1. In multilateral forums, Canada and the EU worked together to advance common environmental priorities and the implementation of the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Canada and the EU are cooperating increasingly on the sound management of chemicals and waste (SMCW), notably under the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, and the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM). In the G7 and G20 over 2018/2019, Canada and the EU promoted actions to address issues such as resource efficiency and marine plastic litter. For example, at the 2018 G7 Summit in Charlevoix, Canada launched the Ocean Plastics Charter. This Charter, which has now been endorsed by 22 governments, including the EU, as well as over 60 businesses and organizations worldwide, sets targets and outlines actions to eradicate plastic waste and marine litter. Under the 2019 G20 in Osaka, Canada and the EU joined other Members in adopting an implementation framework for the G20 2017 Action Plan to Combat Marine Litter. The next bilateral Canada-EU High Level Dialogue on the Environment is expected in early 2020.

Oceans Partnership

  1. Canada and the EU signed an Ocean Partnership Declaration on July 18, 2019 during the Canada-EU Leaders’ Summit. The Declaration reinforces efforts under Canada’s G7 Presidency on oceans and illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, and includes several areas of dialogue and cooperation, including: ocean governance; marine and maritime science; conservation and sustainable management of marine ecosystems; common challenges and opportunities relating to the Arctic Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean; and promoting sustainable fishing. Canada hosted the EU for a High Level Dialogue on Fisheries and Maritime Affairs on June 27-28, 2019, at which both sides agreed on the important role of Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs), and that compliance with RFMO rules needs to be further enhanced and scientific work better aligned with management priorities. We also reiterated our commitment to further advancing joint priorities through the Ocean Partnership Declaration.


  1. The Arctic continues to be a growing area of cooperation for Canada and the EU. An integrated EU policy for the Arctic was published in April 2016. On September 10, 2019, Canada launched a new Arctic and Northern Policy Framework that was co-developed with federal, territorial, provincial and Indigenous partners, and covers both domestic and international policy objectives.
  2. As before, Canada continues to support Arctic Council Ministers fully accrediting the EU as an observer to the Arctic Council. Canada and the EU continue to explore the possibility of greater cooperation under the Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme (2014-2020), and to explore facilitating the mobility of Inuit across the Canada-Denmark (Greenland) border in order to strengthen familial, cultural, and economic ties, as reflected in the November 2018 Joint Declaration of the Canada-EU SPA JMC and the July 2019 Canada-EU Leaders’ Summit Joint Declaration. Representatives from Canada also participated in the first Arctic Stakeholder Conference “Knowing, Developing and Connecting the Arctic” and the annual Arctic Indigenous Peoples Dialogue, organised by the EU in Brussels on September 17, 2018 to highlight the EU’s engagement in the Arctic region.
  3. Canada-EU Arctic cooperation is still largely focused on the area of science, technology and innovation. Two new EU-funded Arctic Cluster projects featuring Canadian participation were launched in 2018: ARICE (€6 million), with the objective of giving polar scientists better access to ice-breakers and improving marine-based research in the ice-covered Arctic ocean; and ARCSAR (€3.5 million) to establish international best practices and propose innovation platforms for security and emergency response institutions in the Arctic and the North-Atlantic. These projects are funded under Horizon 2020, the EU’s multiyear research and innovation funding framework with a budget of nearly €80 billion for 2014-2020. For 2018-2020, the EU is aligning its Arctic research funding priorities with the outcomes of the Second Arctic Science Ministerial, which was co-hosted by the European Commission, Finland and Germany in Berlin in October 2018. Twenty-eight governments including the EU, Canada and the U.S. participated, as well as all six Permanent Participants of the Arctic Council and several international Arctic science organizations. Both partners also participate in the new Arctic Funders Forum Working Group. Finally, the Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance (AORA) established trilateral implementation working groups, which the EU, U.S. and Canada co-chair. The first AORA trilateral dialogue on Marine Microbiome, with representatives from Canada, Europe and the U.S. was held in June 2019, with the aim to connect and foster cooperation between the science communities.
  4. An EU-funded Partnership Instrument project on black carbon in the Arctic was launched in 2018 and will run for three years with a budget of €1.5 million. Black carbon is a short-lived climate pollutant with climate effects that are particularly significant in the Arctic due to its heating effects of the air and the blackening of snow and ice. This project aims to develop a collective response to reduce black carbon emissions and their accumulation in the Arctic, and to reinforce international cooperation to protect the Arctic environment. Specifically, it will initiate a process of setting targets for major sources, in particular on gas flaring, domestic heating and possibly maritime shipping. The project is being implemented by the Arctic Council's AMAP secretariat and highlights the contribution the EU is bringing to the work of the Arctic Council. This project grew out of an exchange of ideas between Canada and the EU and illustrates our like-mindedness on climate and environmental policies. Canadian and EU officials have met with the AMAP secretariat to pursue collaboration under this project.


  1. Canada and the EU are both signatories to the UN’s New Urban Agenda (NUA), adopted at Habitat 3 by over 170 countries in October 2016. The NUA aligns with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, particularly Sustainable Development Goal 11 on sustainable cities and communities. Canada and the EU share a common vision of the urbanization challenges facing the world and have already engaged in concrete actions to advance the NUA. These include cooperation at the level of urban authorities, acting with key public and private sector stakeholders on each side, and through city-to-city diplomacy, notably under the EU’s International Urban Cooperation programme.


  1. On the margins of the June 2019 Paris Air Show at Le Bourget airport in France, Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc met her Canadian counterpart, Minister Marc Garneau. Their discussions covered a range of matters of common interest, including: the reintroduction of the Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft; the decarbonization of transportation; connected and automated vehicles; drones; women in transportation; and the importance of the G7 Transport Ministers Meetings. The Canada-EU Air Transport Agreement, administratively applied since 2009, entered definitively into force in May 2019.

Employment, Social Affairs and Decent Work

  1. The second annual meeting of the Canada-EU bilateral Dialogue on Employment, Social Affairs and Decent Work took place in Ottawa in November 2018, and included a site visit to a Canadian e-commerce company, Shopify. The meeting’s theme was “Improving Gender Diversity and Promoting Apprenticeships: Through Various Viewpoints and Perspectives”. Participants included public servants from the European Commission, a variety of European stakeholders, and Canadian public servants and stakeholders. Discussions covered a range of topics, including: addressing the gender wage gap; promoting women in leadership positions; vocational education and training; apprenticeships and lifelong learning; understanding and meeting future skills needs; and integrating migrants and newcomers into the labour market. Participants acknowledged significant value in information-sharing and collaboration, and expressed their desire to continue to exchange information and best practices.

Cluster Cooperation

  1. On June 6, 2019, Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, joined Elżbieta Bieńkowska, European Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and Small and Medium Enterprises, in witnessing the signature of an Administrative Arrangement between Canada and the EU to facilitate transatlantic cluster collaboration. The Canada-EU cluster cooperation arrangement takes advantage of CETA provisions to advance strategic business partnerships between Canada’s five superclusters and their European counterparts to spur economic growth and competitiveness and strengthen innovation and skills development. Under the Arrangement, clusters on both sides of the Atlantic will have more opportunities to form strategic business partnerships and linkages with complementary cluster organizations comprised of businesses, academic institutions and non-profit organizations.

General Data Protection Regulation

  1. In May 2018, the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force, replacing the EU Data Protection Directive. Among other issues, the GDPR addresses the transfer of personal information of EU data subjects to jurisdictions outside of the EU, prohibiting such transfers except under certain conditions. One condition is whether a third country has been designated as having an “adequate” level of legal protection. In this regard, the EU recognizes Canada’s Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) as providing “adequate” privacy protection, permitting transfers of information about EU data subjects to companies in Canada without the need for additional safeguards. However, the GDPR also requires the European Commission to evaluate by May 2020 (and every four years thereafter) whether adequacy decisions adopted under the EU Data Protection Directive, such as the one concerning Canada, continue to ensure an adequate level of protection. On May 21, 2019, Canada issued a discussion paper on potential improvements to PIPEDA. One of the goals of any changes to PIPEDA would be to ensure interoperability with other privacy regimes and frameworks such as the GDPR. In that context, Canada has been providing regular updates to the European Commission on developments related to its federal data protection regime, including PIPEDA, the Privacy Act, and legislation related to access to personal information by public authorities for law enforcement and national security purposes. The EU’s GDPR evaluation is ongoing.

Consumer Protection

  1. Canada and the EU signed an Administrative Arrangement on November 13, 2018 regarding the exchange of information on the safety of non-food consumer products as per the chapter on regulatory cooperation of CETA. The measures in the agreement were subsequently endorsed by the CETA Committee on Trade in Goods. The arrangement provides for an automated exchange of information between Health Canada’s RADAR system and the EU’s RAPEX system, covering information about product recalls, safety alerts, risk assessment reports, and industry incident reports. Since November 2018, the participants have been developing the technical capabilities to allow for an efficient exchange between the systems, and data exchange covering events since January 2019 is ongoing. Building on this cooperation, the participants have started working on additional joint initiatives in the areas of market surveillance and consumer outreach, and hold regular bilateral meetings to identify areas for further regulatory cooperation in relation to consumer product safety.


  1. To enhance collaboration and discuss key digital issues of mutual interest, Canada and the EU held their first Digital Dialogue from May 27-28, 2019 in Ottawa, Canada. Through these dialogues, Canada and the EU agreed to advance bilateral cooperation on digital policy, while focusing on emerging priorities including artificial intelligence, blockchain, quantum computing, disinformation and protecting our democratic values in a digital world. Both parties reaffirmed our commitment to the regular exchange of information, joint cooperation and sharing of best practices to better prepare ourselves for the opportunities and challenges of an increasingly digitized economy. These efforts will help ensure that both Canada and the EU are able to respond to our societies’ ever changing technological landscapes in a manner that builds a thriving and human rights-respecting digital and creative economy of the future.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

  1. AI represents a set of complex and powerful technologies that will touch or transform every sector and industry, and will influence all human activity. This is why Canada and the EU have committed to deepen our cooperation on AI to advance these technologies with a human-centric and multi-stakeholder approach, in harmony with Canadian and EU laws, policies and common values. Notably, the EU has been supportive - since May 2019 - of the multilateral initiative, led by Canada and France, to establish a Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence (GPAI). GPAI will support and guide the responsible adoption of AI that is human-centric and grounded in human rights, inclusion, diversity, innovation and economic growth. GPAI will facilitate international collaboration in a multi-stakeholder manner with the scientific community, industry, civil society, related international organizations, and governments, thereby becoming a global point of reference for understanding and sharing research results and best practices on AI issues, and for convening substantive project-based work on priority AI themes. EU support was key to ensuring the GPAI was supported by Leaders at the 2019 G7 Summit in Biarritz, France.

Development Policy

  1. Further to the first Canada-EU Development Policy Dialogue in November 2017, substantive exchanges have continued to take place, including between the responsible Canadian Deputy Minister and EU Director General at both the 2018 and 2019 G7 Development Ministers’ Meetings. Additionally, working level collaboration continued on shared priorities such as innovative financing and gender equality. Canada also hosted a high-level panel on accelerating gender-responsive innovative financing for sustainable development during the EU Development Days on June 18, 2019.

People-to-People Contacts

  1. People-to-people contacts are one of the most direct ways for citizens to benefit from closer Canada-EU cooperation. Through numerous initiatives, Canada and the EU promote contacts in the field of education, research and innovation, youth and culture. Canadian higher-education institutions are making extensive use of opportunities for academic cooperation offered beyond the already mentioned exchange of researchers through Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (see paragraph 55). For example, since the start of Erasmus+ in 2014, there have been close to 2800 short-term student and staff exchanges between the EU and Canada, which since 2018 include student traineeships in the private sector. Cooperation is also high under Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degrees, which allow for deep cooperation between European and Canadian institutions delivering excellent joint programmes and are open to any Canadian student. Since 2014 more than 100 Canadian students have received full scholarships for joint master degrees in Europe and 37 of such programmes include Canadian partners.
  2. Academic cooperation with Canada is also strong in the field of European studies. There are 44 Jean Monnet projects under Erasmus+, including Centres of Excellence, Jean Monnet Chairs and teaching modules, and the European Community Studies Association–Canada (ECSA-C) plays an important role in building capacity for Canada's European Studies Community. These projects promote policy debate with the academic world and excellence of research in matters of common interest, an example of the 2019 selected projects is the Centre of Excellence by the Université de Montréal to establish a Europe-Asia Research Network on Strategies for Promoting Europe-Asia Connectivity.
  3. Canada and the EU seek to foster transatlantic youth exchanges through non-governmental organisations and think-tanks in order to deepen transatlantic ties and find solutions to common challenges. A Partnership Instrument project worth €900,000 is foreseen for exchanges in the area of youth, security and peace, and the digital world. A call for proposals was launched in April 2018 targeting youth organisations, associations and networks. Another example of youth cooperation is the Erasmus+ funded project "Youth Participation Parkour" to improve youth participation in civil society processes. Canada has also shown interest in the new youth initiative, the "European Solidarity Corps".
  4. Canada also has bilateral youth mobility arrangements with 21 EU Member States, which facilitate work and travel opportunities for youth aged 18-35. These arrangements build people-to-people contacts and allow Canadian and European youth to be immersed in different cultures and gain intercultural skills while building global competencies including cross-cultural adaptability, strategic thinking, leadership skills, and foreign language proficiency. Reaffirming the strong ties between Canada and the EU, Canada has concluded two new youth mobility arrangements in 2018-2019, with Portugal in May 2018 and with Luxembourg in July 2019.
  5. Sharing common values was a central theme of the 2018 European Year of Cultural Heritage, which was supported in Canada by the EUNIC network, which currently holds clusters in Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa. The EU financially supports projects for the promotion and protection of cultural and linguistic diversity through the Creative Europe programme, which has featured projects with Canada on music, such as the “Big Bang Festival” which opened the National Arts Centre in Ottawa to young audiences and innovative dance through the “Vertical Dance Forum” and the “European Dancehouse Network”. Creative Europe also supports the Architects’ Council of Europe which, together with the Canadian Architectural Licensing Authorities, signed an agreement in October 2018 on mutual recognition to facilitate the mobility of Architects between the EU and Canada.

Justice, Freedom and Security


  1. All EU citizens have been able to travel to Canada visa-free since December 1, 2017. Canada, the EU and its Member States continue to engage on visa issues on an as-needed basis to help ensure the sustainability of this visa-free access.

Passenger Name Record Agreement

  1. At the Canada-EU Leaders’ Summit of July 17-18, 2019, Leaders noted that they were pleased to have concluded negotiations for a new Passenger Name Record (PNR) Agreement, which allowed Canada to initiate a legal review. The Parties also committed, subject to that review, to finalizing the agreement as soon as possible, acknowledging the vital role of this Agreement in enhancing security while ensuring privacy and the protection of personal data.

Migration and Asylum

  1. In June 2018, Canada and the EU held annual Joint Consultations on Migration and Asylum (JCM), the main forum at senior levels between Canada and the EU on migration and asylum issues. Discussions focused on asylum policy, visa policy, regular migration pathways, international migration governance, and readmission. The next JCM was held on January 20, 2020. At the UN level, Canada, and the EU engaged in the UN processes on the Global Compacts on Refugees and Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, helping to shape their content and place migration and the refugee response firmly on the UN agenda. Canada and the EU have also worked together to expand refugee resettlement. These cooperative efforts occurred, among others, through the EU’s funded project on Facilitating Resettlement and Refugee Admission through New Knowledge (EU-FRANK), including a resettlement operations study-tour to Kenya for EU Member States March 11-15, 2019.
  2. Following a commitment made at the EU-Canada Summit on October 30, 2016 to establish an informal platform to allow expert exchanges on migration, a first expert meeting in this framework was organised – a roundtable exchange on the role of Social Entrepreneurship in Integration in November 2017. Given the clear mutual interest in further exchanges on migration, subsequent platform events were held to discuss Labour Mobility (June 14, 2018), and Communicating Community Sponsorship of Refugees (February 25, 2019). A fourth migration platform event, on the Integration of Women Migrants, is being planned for early 2020. Canada and the EU also work co-operatively on projects to improve integration outcomes. These collaborations include the organization of Social Innovation for Refugee Inclusion conferences in 2016, 2017 and in 2019, and engagement with the European Commission-led European Integration Network (EIN). The EIN hosted a moderated discussion with a senior Canadian immigration official on monitoring and evaluation of integration policy and programs on March 18, 2019.

Consular Protection

  1. Canada and the EU have a strong tradition of cooperation in the field of consular protection, e.g. through common demarches vis-à-vis third countries related to detention, pre-trial conditions and prison conditions, forced marriages or child abductions. Canada joined an EU-led demarche on prison conditions and consular notification in the Philippines in May 2019, while the EU supported Canada with advocacy regarding the two Canadians arbitrarily detained in China.
  2. Canada and the EU maintain a semi-annual dialogue on consular issues. The most recent meeting took place on November 7, 2019 in Ottawa.
  3. EU and Canadian experts collaborate on consular crisis management. Exercise Argonaut is held yearly in Cyprus and includes the EU and Canada, as well as the other members of the Non-Combatant Evacuations/NEO Coordination Group. In addition, Canada sent a representative to an informal EU meeting on consular crisis management which took place on May 15, 2019 in Bucharest.
  4. Multilaterally, Canada and the EU are working to advance the role of the Global Consular Forum. The next GCF meeting is planned for mid-2020 pending confirmation of a host.
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