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EU-Canadian relations
European Union   Canada
Map indicating location of European Union and Canada
     European Union      Canada

Relations between Canada and the European Union (EU) and its forerunners date back to the 1950s. While primarily an economic relationship, there are matters of political cooperation as well.



European Union
EU Insignia.svg

This article is part of the series:
Foreign relations of the European Union


Canada's relationship with Europe is an outgrowth of the historic connections spawned by colonialism and mass European immigration to Canada. Canada was first settled by the French, and after 1763 was formally added to the British Empire after its capture in the Seven Years' War.

Historically, Canada's relations with the UK and USA were usually given priority over relations with continental Europe. Nevertheless, Canada had existing ties with European countries through the Western alliance during the Second World War, the United Nations, and NATO before the creation of the European Economic Community.



The history of Canada's relations with the EU is best documented in a series of economic agreements:

In 1976 the European Economic Community (EEC) and Canada signed a Framework Agreement on Economic Co-operation, the first formal agreement of its kind between the EEC and an industrialized third country.

Also in 1976 the Delegation of the European Commission to Canada opened in Ottawa.

In 1990 European and Canadian leaders adopted a Declaration on Transatlantic Relations, extending the scope of their contacts and establishing regular meetings at Summit and Ministerial level.

In 1996, a new Political Declaration on EU-Canada Relations was made at the Ottawa Summit, adopting a joint Action Plan identifying additional specific areas for co-operation.

Canada-EU Free Trade Agreement Proposal

Since as early as January 2007, Quebec Premier Jean Charest and the Government of Canada led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper have been pressuring the EU and its member countries to negotiate a Canada-EU free trade agreement, allowing for free movement of workers between the two areas.[1][2] In early 2008, Premier Charest loudly advocated for such an agreement during a trip to Europe and asked the federal government to start selling its benefits in Europe.[3] Former French prime minister Edouard Balladur has supported the idea, while former Canadian trade negotiator Michael Hart called the idea "silly."[4]

Europe's financial meltdown has shepherded launch of negotiations of a new trade agreement, with the EU's own $3.5-trillion banking bailout for the 15 countries whose common currency is the euro. It would also ease Canada's dependency on the sagging U.S. economy.[5]

In June 2009, EU Trade Commissioner Catherine Ashton and Canadian Minister of International Trade Stockwell Day released a joint statement regarding the start of negotiations for a Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). [6] Minister Day stated "This first meeting represents a solid step toward a historic economic agreement between Canada and Europe. These negotiations are a priority for our government." [6]

But Canada and EU remain at odds over an EU ban on importing seal products, and Canada's recent decision to require Czech citizens obtain a visa to travel to Canada.[7]

See also


External links


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