Canada and the European Union
The European Union (EU) is a strategic partner for Canada. The Canada-EU relationship is based on shared values, a long history of close cooperation, and strong people to-people ties. Our ever-growing relationship with the EU is the oldest formal relationship the EU has with any industrialized country, dating back to 1959. Thanks to the Canada-EU Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) and the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), we are now working more closely than ever on a wide range of issues, including foreign policy, international peace and security, trade and investment, climate change and environment, health, and development cooperation.
The EU is a strategic partner for Canada and we share many common values and policy priorities.
Canada and the EU enjoy a strong bilateral relationship across the broad spectrum of political, foreign policy, and security policy issues.
Canada and the EU enjoy a strong and ever-growing bilateral trade and investment relationship.
Canada has a well-established agriculture and agri-food industry with long-standing success in the global marketplace.
Justice and Home Affairs issues such as migration, border management, and judicial and police cooperation are important areas of Canada-EU cooperation.
The Strasbourg-based Council of Europe, which has 46 Member States and is a separate institution from the EU, is the continent's oldest regional organization.
The Canadian Trade Commissioner Service in the EU provides on the-ground intelligence and practical advice on this market to help make better, timely, and cost-effective decisions.
Canada and the EU are actively committed to advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment both at home and abroad.
Ailish Campbell is Canada’s Ambassador to the EU.
Contact the Mission of Canada to the EU.
Canada and the European Union (EU) have a deep and ever-growing strategic partnership. The Canada-EU relationship is based on shared values, commercial relations, and institutional cooperation. Our relationship is the EU's oldest formal relationship with any industrialized country, officially dating back to 1959 when we signed the Agreement for Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy.
Canada is one of the EU’s official Strategic Partners and our present-day relations with the EU are framed by two agreements. The Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) governs our economic relations. It has created significant new commercial opportunities for Canadian and EU businesses in trade and investment and forged closer links between our economies since its provisional entry into force in September 2017.
The Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) was signed at the same time as CETA and sets the framework for our political, foreign policy, and security relationship. It has been provisionally applied since April 2017. This agreement provides for regular bilateral dialogues in areas such as security and defence, development, climate change, environment, clean energy, the green and digital transitions, and public health. Under the SPA, senior officials of the Canada-EU Joint Cooperation Committee regularly take stock of the relationship and provide recommendations on areas of cooperation to the Canada-EU Joint Ministerial Committee.
Leaders’ Summits between the Prime Minister of Canada and the Presidents of the European Council and European Commission are mandated by the SPA. Prime Minister Trudeau and the Presidents of the European Council, Charles Michel, and the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, last met in Summit format in Brussels on June 14, 2021 for the 18th Canada-EU Leaders’ Summit. Canada will host the next Summit in St John’s, Newfoundland, on November 23-24, 2023.
Foreign and Security Policy Cooperation
Canada and the EU enjoy a strong bilateral relationship across the broad spectrum of foreign policy and security issues. We share a common commitment to preserving and promoting the rules-based international order and we have common ambitions for the future. We work closely together, both bilaterally and multilaterally, to promote democracy, peace and security, respect for human rights, the rule of law, and effective multilateralism.
Under the auspices of the Canada-EU Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA), we connect regularly to discuss issues of foreign policy and security. Examples include:
- An annual "Joint Ministerial Committee" (JMC) meeting which brings together the Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs and the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice President of the European Commission (HRVP). These meetings review the dynamic EU-Canada relationship, including on foreign and security policy, and chart the way ahead.
- Senior official and expert meetings to discuss a range of issues and themes in greater depth throughout the year. A multitude of formal and informal bilateral meetings also occur on the margins of other international fora where both Canada and the European Union are represented.
This extensive framework for consultations makes the Canada-EU bilateral relationship one of Canada's more structured in the international arena. Our relationship is always evolving to reflect the priorities of Canada and the EU in a changing world.
Peace and Security
As the EU's foreign and security policy role has grown, so too has our cooperation in this area. Conflict prevention and increased international cooperation for more effective crisis management have become a central component of our political dialogue. Since 2003, Canada has contributed to 12 EU civilian and military missions in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. Presently, Canada contributes police officers to the EU civilian missions in the West Bank, EUPOL COPPS.
Democracy and Human Rights
Canada and the EU regularly exchange views and work together to advance human rights. We have a structured, expert-level dialogue on human rights and pursue common priorities in the UN (United Nations) and in other multilateral fora. The EU is a strong supporter of Canada’s initiative to combat arbitrary detention for leverage in state to-state relations.
Canada and the EU are committed to helping other states develop sustainable democratic institutions and practices. We do this by providing direct support, legal and administrative training, and technical assistance. A key area of Canada-EU joint action to promote democracy is electoral observation. Canada has participated in over 25 of the EU's election observation missions since 2005.
Trade and Investment
The EU market, comprising 27 member states, is Canada’s second-largest global trading partner for goods and services, and second-largest partner for two-way direct investment, after the United States.
- In 2022, trade in Canada-EU combined goods and services reached a value of $147 billion.
- In 2022, the stock of Canadian direct investment in the EU was valued at $248.8 billion, representing 12.5% of Canada’s total foreign direct investment (FDI) outward stock.
- In 2022, known stocks of EU FDI in Canada were valued at $180.9 billion, representing 14.3% of global FDI in Canada (measured by Ultimate Investing Country basis).
The Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) was signed in 2016 and entered into force provisionally in 2017. CETA is a comprehensive trade agreement that addresses or eliminates barriers in virtually all sectors and aspects of Canada-EU bilateral trade, creating new commercial opportunities for both Canadian and European businesses. CETA also includes high standards for consumers and workers and the environment, with chapters on trade and sustainable development, trade and environment, and trade and labour.
Canada-EU bilateral merchandise trade increased by 53.6% in the 6 years since CETA’s provisional application, and the utilization of CETA preferences by businesses continues to improve in both directions of trade.
Canada and the EU are working together to ensure the security of supply of critical minerals and related value chains, both essential to building a net-zero and digital economy. This includes the Canada-EU Strategic Partnership on Raw Materials, which is helping to deliver new trade and investment opportunities, while supporting the highest environmental and social standards and building research and innovation partnerships.
Science, technology and innovation
Canada has a strong and successful history in science, technology and innovation (STI) collaboration with the EU. This dates back to the 1959 signing of the Agreement for Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy and continues with the Agreement for Scientific and Technological Cooperation Between Canada and the European Community. Under the latter agreement, Canada and the EU established priority areas for STI cooperation on aerospace, agriculture and agri-food, Arctic and marine (under the Galway Statement on Atlantic Ocean Cooperation), information communication technologies, health, researcher mobility, and research infrastructure.
Horizon Europe is the world’s largest research and innovation funding program (2021 to 2027), with a budget of €95.5 billion ($137.5 billion). Canadian researchers and innovators are active participants in this program and are encouraged to apply to the latest project calls. In December 2022, Canada began formal negotiations with the EU for association status in Horizon Europe.
Please contact the trade section of the Mission of Canada to the European Union at BREUTD@international.gc.ca for funding programs and practical tools to support applications, and if you have specific questions on EU-level regulation or legislation.
In June 2022, Canada became a full member in the Eureka network of more than 45 economies in Europe, and beyond, which supports companies, research centres, universities and other innovators from member countries to collaborate on market-driven industrial research and development projects.
The National Research Council of Canada, through its Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP), manages Canada’s Eureka national office and provides Canadian innovators with a first contact point and access to the expansive global network.
- Canadian Trade Commissioner Service – Innovate
- Release on the occasion of the 16th European Union (EU)-Canada Joint Science and Technology Cooperation Committee (JSTCC) Meeting, October 18, 2022
Energy represents a significant portion of the trade and investment relationship between Canada and the EU. Current priorities in the areas of green transition, energy security, and addressing the environmental impacts of energy production and use ensure that energy remains a top area of bilateral cooperation. Canada and the EU continue to engage on energy topics through the High-Level Energy Dialogue (HLED) under the Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA). Established to foster increased bilateral contacts and cooperation on energy, the HLED provides an annual forum to discuss energy policy issues, such as market transparency, maintaining a safe, sustainable and competitive energy supply, and research and development activities in this dynamic field. Current areas of focus are energy security and the clean energy transition. Contact Canada’s Trade Commissioner Service for more information.
Agriculture, Environment and Fisheries
Agriculture and Agri-food in the European Union
CETA has opened new agriculture and agri-food market opportunities for Canadian exporters in the EU. With most EU agriculture tariffs now duty free, Canadian exporters have an advantage over competitors in countries that do not have a free trade agreement with the EU. Exporters can find specifics on the Tariffs that apply to their products exported to the EU on the Canadian Tariff Finder Website.
Regardless of CETA, all exports must meet the EU import requirements such as labelling regulations, health certifications, and specific authorizations. The CFIA website has more information on exporting food, plants and animal products to the EU. Canadian exporters looking for information on the European market should check out the web pages below:
- Exporting food, plants or animals
- Exporting your agri-food to the European Union
- Exporting agri-food products to the European Union: a guide for Canadian business
- Exporting fish and seafood to the European Union: A guide for Canadian business
For more detailed information on specific markets within Europe, please contact the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service offices.
Fisheries and Oceans
Canada and the EU enjoy a long-standing relationship on oceans and fisheries, as recognized and reinforced by the establishment of a Canada-EU Ocean Partnership in 2019 and the Ocean Partnership Forum launched at the 2021 Leaders’ Summit. The first Forum was held in October 2022. The Ocean Partnership builds on many years of cooperation, including through regular High-Level Dialogues on Fisheries under the Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) and the 2016 joint statement on Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing.
Cooperation between Canada and the EU on fisheries also takes place in the context of Regional Fisheries Management Organizations, such as the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization. Canada and the EU worked closely during Canada’s 2018 G7 presidency to advance the international oceans agenda and address micro-plastics, endorsing the Charlevoix Blueprint for Healthy Oceans, Seas and Resilient Coastal Communities and the Ocean Plastic Charter. Canada and the EU both signed the International Agreement to Prevent Unregulated High Seas Fisheries in the Central Arctic Ocean in 2018.
Environment and Climate Change
Canada and the EU have an extensive history of cooperation on environmental policies. This relationship dates back to 1975, when Canada and the European Commission signed an exchange of letters on environmental cooperation.
The Canada-EU High-Level Dialogue on Environment began in 1983, and the High-Level Dialogue on Climate Change in 2010. Both dialogues were formalized in 2017 under the Canada-EU Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA). These Dialogues provide a forum for technical discussion and information exchange as well as identifying areas of future cooperation and coordination to enhance the Canada-EU relationship on climate and environment. Issues recently discussed in the High-Level Dialogue on Environment have included biodiversity, circular economy, chemicals management, sustainable development, forests, and mercury. Issues discussed under the High-Level Dialogue on Climate Change have included carbon pricing and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties.
Further cooperation on trade-related environment and climate topics takes place under the Trade and Environment Chapter of the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement.
Canada and the EU also benefit from a strong partnership for addressing environment and climate issues in multilateral fora and international organizations, such as the UNFCCC, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the G7/G20. Implementation of the Paris Agreement is a priority for both Canada and the EU. Together with China, Canada and the EU launched the Ministerial on Climate Action (MoCA) in 2017 to advance the goals of the Paris Agreement.
Justice and Home Affairs
Justice and Home Affairs issues such as migration, border management, and judicial and police cooperation are important areas of Canada-EU cooperation.
Migratory and refugee movements across the world present challenges and opportunities for Canada and the EU. Canada's experience in asylum, immigration, integration, citizenship, and multiculturalism is well-known and of interest to European partners. While migration and asylum policies are a shared competence with Member States, the EU is taking important steps to foster harmonization, co-operation, and contributions to the Union's economic development and role in international protection.
The Mission of Canada to the EU fosters the exchange of good practices between Canada and the EU and promotes co-operation in areas of mutual interest, such as:
- managing asylum and migration programs,
- developing and monitoring integration policies and programs,
- facilitating traveller and migrant mobility while protecting the security of citizens; and,
- cooperating in multilateral forums on migration, such as the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM)
The Mission of Canada to the EU also monitors key EU developments in the domain of migration and asylum. The European Commission, the Council of the EU, and the European Parliament are all key actors and interlocutors for Canada in this policy area. Canada and the EU also jointly organize Migration Platform events to exchange best practices on key migration-related issues affecting Canada and Member States.
The Government of Canada has two main priorities in which effective and responsive border management plays a key role. One is to ensure the safety and security of Canadians. The second supports our economic competitiveness. The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) strives to ensure our borders are secure against threats to Canada's safety, security and economic prosperity, and open to the movement of legitimate people and goods.
The CBSA recognizes that threats and opportunities arising from international trade growth and global migration – from drug and human trafficking to organised crime, migration crime, smuggling, terrorism and fraud – can be dealt with most effectively by working with our domestic and international partners. The CBSA works closely with other organizations based in the EU, including the World Customs Organization, DG Migration and Home Affairs, DG Taxation and Customs Union, the European Anti-Fraud Office, EUROPOL, and the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (FRONTEX). To create a smart and secure border, we have implemented a border strategy founded on modern technology, risk management, and information sharing. A key element of our strategy is to "push our borders out" using pre-screening, information-sharing, and enforcement cooperation to lessen risk as far away from our borders as possible.
We have signed instruments with the EU to facilitate border management cooperation. These agreements represent a solid development in our bilateral relationship and will benefit our respective trading communities as well as our respective border integrity. These agreements enhance security against terrorism and cross-border criminal activity, and increase facilitation for low-risk travellers, low-risk shipments, and trusted traders:
- Agreement between the Government of Canada and the European Community on the processing of Advance Passenger Information and Passenger Name Record Data (currently being renegotiated)
- Agreement between Canada and the European Community on Customs Cooperation and Mutual Assistance
- Agreement between Canada and the European Union on Customs Cooperation with Respect to Matters Related to Supply-Chain Security
In the EU, the relevant judicial authorities of each Member State cooperate on criminal issues such as organised crime, terrorism, corruption, illicit drug trafficking, illicit arms trafficking, offences against children, etc. EU structures have also been created to enhance judicial cooperation between the Member States' competent judicial authorities. Our Justice team in Brussels liaises with EU agencies in these matters and follows the work of EU institutions in criminal law policy-making. The team also provides support to national authorities requesting judicial legal assistance in (e.g. evidence-gathering) or extradition from Canada. As Canada is a Party to the Council of Europe’s Cybercrime Convention, it regularly participates at the Cybercrime Convention Committee meetings at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg.
Canada and the Council of Europe
The Strasbourg-based Council of Europe (CoE), which has 46 Member States, is the continent's oldest regional organization. It was created in 1949 to promote cooperation and strengthen democracy, human rights and the rule of law in Western Europe after the Second World War. It now also serves as a forum for examining a wide range of social issues such as public health and bioethical issues, intolerance and the integration of migrants, terrorism, drug trafficking and criminal activities, privacy, and the impact of innovative technologies. The CoE and its associated European Court of Human Rights are widely described as Europe’s democracy and human rights watchdogs.
Canada was granted official observer status with the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers in 1996. In 1997, Canadian parliamentarians were granted official observer status with the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. The Deputy Head of Mission of the Mission of Canada to the European Union is Canada's Permanent Observer to the Council of Europe. In 2019, Canada also joined the Council of Europe’s European Commission for Democracy through Law (the Venice Commission), which supports Canada’s and the EU’s collective efforts to advance democratic principles, human rights and fundamental freedoms across Europe and internationally. Canada has been an observer to the Venice Commission since 1991.
Doing Business in the EU
The Canadian Trade Commissioner Service in the EU provides on the-ground intelligence and practical advice on this market to help make better, timely and cost-effective decisions.
More information on exporting to the EU is included in our “Guide for Canadian Business”.
- Inside information for Canadian firms about opportunities in the EU in 12 key sectors
- Consult the Canadian Tariff Finder to explore tariff information for the EU market
- Sign Up to the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service
- Doing business in the European Union
- Canada’s Merchandise Trade Performance with the EU after the Entry into Force of CETA
Gender Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Pledge
The EU is an important partner for Canada in advancing gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls internationally.
In Canada and elsewhere, freedom from discrimination is recognized as a human right and an essential component of peace, security and economic prosperity. It is the foundation on which diverse and inclusive societies are built and contributes to better social and economic outcomes for all. It is also a central component of most democracies. The Government of Canada is committed to advancing diversity and inclusion at home and abroad, and supporting an inclusive workplace where everyone is welcomed, supported, and respected. These commitments are also at the heart of Canada’s foreign affairs, trade, development, migration and defence policies.
Below is the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Pledge of the Mission of Canada to the European Union, the Joint Delegation to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the Embassy of Canada to Belgium and Luxembourg:
The senior management of the tri-mission community in Brussels reaffirm this commitment and set out below our Pledge to advance equity, diversity and inclusion in all its forms. This commitment builds on, and is consistent with: the GAC Anti-Racism Strategy 2021-2026); the GAC Action Plan on Indigenous Reconciliation 2021-2025); the Public Service Call to Action on Anti-Racism, Equity, and Inclusion; the Accessible Canada Act, the Government of Canada’s Values and Ethics Code, the Feminist Foreign Policy, the Women, Peace and Security Agenda and the Inclusive Trade Agenda.
Together, we will strive to ensure that our Missions set an exemplary standard as diverse, equitable and inclusive workplaces, including by taking actions to identify and remedy imbalances. To that end:
All Mission Team Members will:
- Know and understand Mission policies, guidelines and procedures and ensure they are respected.
- Work together to maintain and reinforce a positive, respectful, and inclusive workplace.
- Undertake training to enhance awareness with respect to key obstacles to diversity and inclusion.
- Expand networks of interlocutors to ensure engagement with a diverse range of perspectives and representation.
- Highlight Canada’s commitment to combatting all forms of discrimination and advancing diversity and inclusion in meetings with external clients, communication products, and in social media operations.
Heads and Deputy Heads of Mission and Canada’s Military Representative to NATO will:
- Maintain a standing Committee on Gender Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion to share best practices, disseminate information, highlight training opportunities, propose new initiatives, and track and report on progress towards meeting the objectives of this Pledge.
- Assign a senior-level Diversity and Inclusion Champion to oversee the work of the GEDI Committee.
- Regularly communicate with all staff on the priorities and actions of the Government of Canada, and plan training to advance equality, diversity and inclusion in policies and in the workplace.
- Be open to ideas, views and perspectives of mission staff to improve culture and support an inclusive workplace.
Program Managers will:
- Ensure training plans and performance objectives and indicators advance a commitment to diversity and inclusion.
- Ensure all employees have completed diversity and inclusion, gender-based analysis, anti-racism training and Indigenous learning, and encourage employees to share learning amongst themselves.
- Adopt an inclusive approach to recruiting, hiring, training, and career advancement, to address systemic racism. In particular, consider opportunities to provide Indigenous young professionals with international work experience.
- Implement best practices and guidelines for organizing inclusive events and ensuring diversity on hosted panels.
The Gender Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee will:
- Develop an Action Plan, with timelines, to implement the commitments of this Pledge.
- Proactively identify opportunities to promote equality, diversity, and inclusion, and apply these principles and practices in the activities of Mission policies and programs.
- Increase employee knowledge and understanding of equality, diversity and inclusion, including the importance of advancing Indigenous reconciliation, ensuring accessibility and understanding unconscious bias and GBA+.
- Undertake a mapping of potential partner organizations to collaborate on diversity and inclusion initiatives in Brussels.
- In collaboration with the Training Committee, develop a learning roadmap to identify and deliver all-mission training.
- In collaboration with HQ, implement communications frameworks to promote diversity and inclusion.
- In collaboration with HQ, explore options for establishing baselines and metrics to measure progress towards meeting diversity and inclusion goals, as a basis for regular evaluation and review.
- Make recommendations to the Committee on Mission Management, Heads of Mission and Deputy Heads of Mission, in support of the goals of equality, diversity and inclusion.
Ambassador of Canada to the European Union
H.E., Dr. Ailish Campbell (BA Hons [Political Studies], Queen’s University, 1997; MSc Econ, London School of Economics, 1998; D.Phil. [International Relations], University of Oxford, 2002) joined the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade in 2002 as a trade negotiator in the World Trade Organization’s Doha Round. During her time as a federal public servant, she has held progressively senior roles in economic, finance and international policy, including at the Privy Council Office, Industry Canada and Finance Canada. She was also vice president, international and fiscal policy, at the Business Council of Canada from 2013 to 2015.
Most recently, Dr. Campbell was assistant deputy minister for international business development and chief trade commissioner of Canada from 2017 to 2020.
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The Mission of Canada to the EU works in close collaboration with headquarters in Ottawa. The European Union team can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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