Canada and the European Union

Canada and the European Union

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.


Canada's relationship with Europe is an outgrowth of the historic connections spawned by colonialism and mass European immigration to Canada.

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.

European countries were eager to create a common European tariff against outside countries and this included Canada, which Canada opposed. Yet Canada did not object as strongly to Britain's ending of Commonwealth preferences and joining the EEC as did Australia and New Zealand. Those countries were more closely economically tied to the UK, while Canada was and is tied economically to the United States.


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.

Recent relations

Since as early as January 2007, the government of Quebec led by 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. [ [ "Canada and Quebec Unite on EU Free Trade Accord"] , Paul Wells, "Maclean's", July 30, 2007] . 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. [ [ "Canada-Europe free trade touted by Charest"] , Peter O'Niel, Canwest News (, January 18, 2008] , Former French prime minister Edouard Balladur has supported the idea, while former Canadian trade negotiator Michael Hart called the idea "silly." [ [ "French push on for EU-Canada free trade", United Press International] ]

ee also

*Foreign relations of Canada
*Foreign relations of the European Union
*Delegation of the European Commission to Canada (Ottawa)
*Mission of Canada to the European Union (Brussels)
*List of Canadian ambassadors to the European Union
*European Union Ambassador to Canada


External links

* [ Canada-Europe free trade touted by Charest]
* [ Delegation of the European Commission to Canada]
* [ The EU's relations with Canada]
* [ Canada's Relationship with the European Union]

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