1. The High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Vice President of the Commission (HR/VP), Josep Borrell, and Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Mélanie Joly, met today in Brussels for the Third Joint Ministerial Committee (JMC) under the EU-Canada Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA). Recalling the EU-Canada Summit Joint Statement of June 2021, the Joint Ministerial Committee reviewed and charted the way ahead in the EU-Canada relationship, which represents a force for stability and prosperity in the transatlantic area and beyond.
2. Five years ago, the SPA began to be provisionally applied, strengthening the ability of the EU and Canada to address issues of vital importance to their societies and the world through cooperation and dialogue. Guided by shared values for human rights, gender equality, democracy and respect for the rule of law, the JMC reaffirmed today the resolve of the EU and Canada to further deepen bilateral and multilateral collaboration to build a safer, more secure, more just, more inclusive, and more sustainable and healthy world.
3. The JMC received the annual report on the state of EU-Canada relations of the last SPA Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) of senior officials, and its recommendations. The annual report demonstrated both the depth and breadth of EU-Canada cooperation, ever more important in today’s challenging world.
International Peace and Security
4. Over the past five years, the EU and Canada have significantly intensified cooperation on foreign and security policy. The JMC reaffirmed the importance of the transatlantic bond, including the EU-Canada and the EU-NATO strategic partnerships, as key to our overall security, and pledged to continue to cooperate jointly to promote peace and security while addressing threats to democracy, human rights and the rule of law.
5. In Ukraine, Russia has grossly violated international law with its attack on European and global security. The JMC strongly condemned Russia’s unprovoked and unjustifiable military aggression against Ukraine, its horrific massacres of innocent civilians in contravention of international humanitarian law in places such as Bucha and Kramatorsk that are currently being investigated, and its continued attacks against Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. The EU and Canada, together with like-minded partners will continue to support all measures to ensure accountability for human rights violations, war crimes and other violations of international humanitarian law in Ukraine. The JMC called on Russia to cease military operations immediately, to withdraw all of its forces unconditionally from the entire territory of Ukraine, and to fully respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence within its internationally recognised borders including its territorial sea. The JMC equally condemned the involvement of the illegitimate Lukashenko regime in Belarus in this aggression against Ukraine. The EU and Canada, together with like-minded partners, continue to call on Russia to stop its aggression, start to respect international humanitarian law, and pursue a path of good-faith diplomacy and dialogue.
6. The EU and Canada stand resolutely together and will continue to respond decisively to Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine, through coordinated hard-hitting sanctions and by providing political, financial, material and humanitarian support to the people, the government and the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The JMC affirmed our readiness to contribute to the post-war recovery and rehabilitation of Ukraine, as well as our commitment to work to alleviate the impact of Russia’s war on global food security.
7. The JMC noted the enormous refugee crisis caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with more than 5.3 million refugees arriving in the EU and over 7.7 million Internally Displaced Persons in Ukraine. The EU and Canada have each committed considerable resources to humanitarian assistance in Ukraine and the region, and have taken extraordinary measures to ensure protection and facilitate travel for refugees in our respective territories. The JMC agreed to strengthen coordination to ensure the needs of the refugees are met, while also helping host countries respond to associated challenges. The JMC praised the efforts of the EU Member States and the Republic of Moldova in this respect, and agreed to work alongside partners to strengthen the resilience of the Republic of Moldova and other eastern partnership countries.
8. The JMC emphasised the importance of close consultation and cooperation in relation to China, guided by shared values and interests, aiming at coherence and impact. This entails addressing all aspects of our respective relations with China, including responsible management of the challenges China poses, based on interests, principles and the respect of international law, while exploring ways to deepen cooperation on key global challenges such as climate change and global health. The JMC also reiterated the importance of China respecting human rights and fundamental freedoms and the international rules-based order including global trade rules. The JMC further acknowledged that a free, open, inclusive, and resilient Indo-Pacific region is vital to address common global challenges. As such, the JMC affirmed the importance of working together with partners in the Indo-Pacific region, and recommended identifying future areas of EU-Canada cooperation in the region through regular exchanges over the coming year, including but not limited, to sustainable development and prosperity, climate change and biodiversity ocean governance, digital governance, connectivity, and security and defence.
9. The JMC stressed that the EU and Canada will work together to ensure continued focus of the international community on the humanitarian and economic crisis in Afghanistan, and direct concrete support for the basic needs of the Afghan people, including by calling on the Taliban to allow the full, safe, and unhindered access of humanitarian aid. The JMC condemned the recent secondary school ban for girls by the Taliban, which is a violation of the fundamental right to education for all children, and called on the Taliban to implement in full UNSCR 2593, including the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms of all persons, particularly women, children and persons belonging to minorities, and their full participation in all spheres of public life. The JMC also called for the establishment of an inclusive and representative government and reiterated the demand on the Taliban to sever ties with Al Qaeda and all other terrorist groups and ensure that Afghan territory will not be used as a safe haven for terrorism.
10. The JMC also reiterated the commitment to cooperate closely on Latin America and Caribbean matters, focusing on: economic challenges following the pandemic and the impact of the war in Ukraine; political challenges related to democracy, protection ofand respect for human rights and governance; and structural challenges related to climate change, public safety, organised crime and irregular migration. The EU and Canada remain committed to alleviate the plight of the people of Venezuela and support Venezuelan-led efforts to find a peaceful and democratic solution to the lasting crisis. The recommendations of the EU Election Observation Mission report presented on 22 February 2022, aim to improve future electoral processes, at all levels. The EU and Canada call on all parties to return to the negotiation table in Mexico City. The EU and Canada also reaffirmed their commitment to continue supporting the people of Nicaragua in their right to decide their country’s destiny and reiterated their call for the immediate release of all political prisoners and the dismissal of all legal proceedings against them. The EU and Canada expressed concern about the lengthy sentences being handed down in Cuba against peaceful protestors, and urged Cuba to respect and fully protect the rights of all individuals to peaceful assembly and freedom of opinion and expression, and to ensure due process and transparency, in accordance with international standards, with respect to the ongoing trials. They also reiterated their commitment to coordinate closely with partners in supporting the people of Haiti in their efforts to build a more resilient and equitable future, by paving the way for an inclusive political dialogue, free and fair elections, institutional restoration and rule of law.
11. The JMC reaffirmed the EU and Canada’s commitment to coordinate their action in the Sahel region, alongside international and regional organizations and countries of the region, in order to improve security, foster the protection of human rights and contribute to sustainable development benefiting the local populations.
12. The JMC acknowledged the growing geostrategic importance of the Arctic, the specific vulnerability of its ecosystems, its unique role in moderating global climate and the common aim for it to remain a peaceful and stable region of constructive cooperation. The core principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity, based on international law, have long underpinned the close collaboration of Canada and the EU in the Arctic. In light of Russia’s flagrant disregard for these principles, it is more important than ever that we work together to cooperate on Arctic issues. The JMC reaffirmed the EU and Canada’s determination to strengthen cooperation to make the Arctic more resilient; to address the impacts of climate change on the Arctic’s environment, economy and people, including Indigenous Peoples and their knowledge; and to foster inclusive and sustainable economic development to the benefit of all those living in the Arctic
13. The JMC recognised Canada’s long-standing contribution to the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) civilian and/or military missions over the years, and welcomed Canada’s recent participation in the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) project on military mobility. The JMC highlighted the potential for more cooperation on security and defence issues, including on conflict prevention and mediation, Women Peace and Security (WPS) and Climate and Security. The JMC reaffirmed the importance of further strengthening and deepening the mutually reinforcing and beneficial EU-NATO partnership, while fully respecting the principles of inclusiveness, reciprocity and decision-making autonomy. On cybersecurity, the EU and Canada pledged to continue to advance the application of international law, norms of responsible state behavior, confidence building measures and capacity-building initiatives, including in the UN through the establishment of the UN Programme of Action to Advance Responsible State Behaviour in Cyberspace.
14. The JMC recommended reinforcing consular cooperation in particular in times of crises and welcomed the EU’s intention to support Canada’s Partnership Action Plan under the Declaration against Arbitrary Detention in State-to-State relations of 15 February 2021, on a voluntary basis. In particular, the parties intend to jointly supporting research on key aspects of arbitrary detention to facilitate further work in this important area.
15. The JMC also reaffirmed the importance of cooperation in responding to disasters and international humanitarian crises, including by promoting respect for international humanitarian law and human rights law and a better sharing of responsibility in addressing growing humanitarian needs globally. The JMC welcomed Canada’s exploration of avenues to work with the European Emergency Response Coordination Centre and the Civil Protection Mechanism hubs in Poland, Romania, and Slovakia to help channel assistance to Ukraine. It also recommended strengthening cooperation on promoting a sustainable global recovery, in particular through the regular policy dialogue on development cooperation under the SPA.
16. The JMC reaffirmed the commitment of the EU and Canada to conclude a new EU-Canada Passenger Name Record (PNR) Agreement as soon as possible, and recognised the importance of this Agreement in providing a solid basis for the transfer and use of PNR data to prevent and fight terrorism and serious crime while respecting privacy and protecting personal data.
International rules based order, Democracy and Human Rights
17. The JMC reaffirmed the resolve of the EU and Canada to: sustain and reinforce the rules based international order and its multilateral institutions; protect the rule of law; and defend international law, democracy and the universality and indivisibility of human rights, all of which are being increasingly called into question by authoritarian regimes. The JMC noted with appreciation the report of the UN Secretary-General entitled “Our Common Agenda” including the “New Agenda for Peace”, and underlined our shared commitment to support effective implementation of initiatives proposed by the report, in particular UN actions across the full spectrum of tools within the UN peace and security architecture. To that end, the JMC welcomed Canada’s participation in the EU Election Observation Missions in Iraq and Honduras and proposed to step up cooperation in this area in the future.
18. The JMC also stressed the rising threats stemming from the deterioration of democracy and shrinking of civic space on a global scale and the spread of foreign information manipulation, including disinformation. The JMC confirmed its commitment to defending a free, open, stable and secure global internet, particularly in light of the Russian government’s efforts to manipulate the information environment abroad while denying its own citizens free access to information. To that end, the JMC welcomed the intention of the EU and Canada to co-lead efforts within the G7 Rapid Response Mechanism (G7 RRM) and to scope potential for multi-stakeholder engagement towards the development of international norms on foreign information manipulation and interference. In that regard, the EU and Canada committed to convening a series of expert tables over the course of 2022 to identify the way forward in advancing norms development.
19. The JMC acknowledged the importance of cooperating in the areas of freedom, security, and justice and affirmed the intention of the EU and Canada to deepen cooperation on matters of mutual interest. It also emphasised the importance of working together to promote good governance and combat inequalities and discrimination. This includes by protecting human rights defenders and civil society organisations, and promoting human rights and fundamental freedoms, including freedom of religion or belief, freedom of expression, women’s and girls’ enjoyment of human rights , gender equality, the rights of the child, the rights of persons with disabilities, and the rights of LGBTI persons.
Economy, Technology and Research
20. The EU and Canada re-affirmed their commitment to promote a rules-based international economic order. Almost five years of provisional application of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) has brought tangible benefits to EU and Canadian citizens and businesses, by creating more opportunities, promoting inclusive growth and setting high environmental and labour standards. EU-Canada trade was 30% higher in 2021 than before CETA entered into provisional application. Furthermore, CETA is contributing to strengthening the resilience of our economies and supporting post-Covid-19 recovery. CETA is also reinforcing strategic industrial links between the EU and Canada and providing a solid pillar for international supply chains in a context of high geopolitical instability. In this vein, the EU and Canada committed to ensuring the full and effective implementation of CETA and to pursuing joint work, including on outreach, to increase the use of the Agreement.
21. The EU and Canada will also step up efforts to promote trade and investment in green goods and services and use CETA as a facilitator towards the green and digital transitions of both economies. In this context, the JMC emphasised the importance of the upcoming CETA Clean Tech Summit to be hosted by Canada in 2022, which will explore how CETA can contribute to sustainable development, energy security, and the green transition of the EU and Canadian economies.
22. The JMC also acknowledged that the digital economy and emerging technologies have the potential to transform societies and bring about remarkable economic opportunities. Based on a shared commitment to a human-centered digital agenda, the JMC welcomed the deepening of digital cooperation between the EU and Canada through the recently established Digital Dialogue under the SPA and the Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence (GPAI). The cooperation aims to harness rapid technological change and address issues of common interest in the digital transition of our economies and societies. The EU and Canada will also explore the possibility of developing genuine synergies between the green and digital agendas – twin political priorities of both the EU and Canada. The JMC noted that in the area of taxation, both the EU and Canada strongly support international efforts to end the corporate tax race to the bottom and to ensure that all corporations pay their fair share. In this context, the EU and Canada re-affirmed their commitment to implement the Two-Pillar Solution to Address the Tax Challenges Arising from the Digitalisation of the Economy, as agreed by the OECD/G20 Inclusive Framework.
23. A key priority for both the EU and Canada is to ensure the security of supply chains for minerals and metals that are critical to achieving the transition to climate-neutral and digitalised economies. To this end, the JMC acknowledged the progress made in the implementation of the action plan of the Strategic Partnership on Raw Materials established between the EU and Canada in June 2021. The JMC stressed the importance of further deepening this cooperation, notably by increasing value chain integration and resilience, particularly important in the current insecure geopolitical context.
24. The WTO is central to the rules based international trading system but is facing unprecedented challenges. The JMC therefore highlighted the longstanding cooperation between the EU and Canada in the WTO, where both sides are committed to working together to secure the rules-based international trading system, including a successful MC12 in June that delivers results across all key issues, such as WTO reform, trade and health, fisheries’ subsidies and agriculture.
25. Recognising the central role of knowledge in addressing global challenges and in propelling advancement in our societies, the EU and Canada committed to further deepening cooperation in the field of science, technology, research and innovation. The JMC stressed the importance of continuing to support strong bilateral R&I cooperation and welcomed the conclusion of exploratory discussions and the preparations for negotiations on the potential association of Canada to the Horizon Europe Programme. The EU and Canada will step up efforts to cooperate on standardisation in strategic areas and coordinate positions in international standardisation bodies. The JMC also encouraged the training, career development and mobility of researchers and cross-border knowledge exchange. It also acknowledged the instrumental role of the EU’s Financial Instruments, such as NDICI, in facilitating EU and Canada policy dialogues and promoting people-to-people cooperation.
26. The JMC also noted the considerable progress achieved in the area of space cooperation and in particular the signature, today, of a cooperation arrangement between the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and the European Commission to pursue Earth observation activities in a number of areas of common interest, through sharing satellite data on the basis of reciprocity.
Health, Climate, Energy and Environment
27. The EU and Canada are working together to end the Covid-19 pandemic, at all levels and notably within multilateral frameworks such as the WHO, G7 and G20. The JMC welcomed the continuation of in-depth cooperation to address broader health issues through the initiation of an EU- Canada high-level health dialogue under SPA. Priority was given to issues of mutual interest affecting citizens’ well-being such as pandemic preparedness and response to public-health emergencies, Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR), in the context of TATFAR, and mental health. The EU and Canada will continue to explore possibilities for the interoperability between their digital COVID certificate systems.
28. The EU and Canada emphasised the urgency of addressing climate change, acknowledging that it is an existential threat. The JMC recognised the key role of the EU and Canada’s in leading global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fostering a global net zero emissions economy by 2050. They also recognised the importance of continuing to ensure that plurilateral platforms such as the G7 and G20 demonstrate the leadership of major economies in reaching the goals of the Paris Agreement. The JMC underlined the importance of implementing the decisions taken, and commitments made, at COP26.
29. The JMC called on all Parties to the Paris Agreement to continue their efforts to phase out unabated coal power and inefficient fossil fuel subsidies, as an integral part of the work to address climate change. The EU and Canada also urged all Parties, and in particular, G20 countries, whose current 2030 and Long Term targets are not compatible with the temperature goals to increase, their climate ambition by COP27 so global warming is limited to 1.5°C. In this context, the JMC is looking forward to the 6th session of the Ministerial on Climate Action (MoCA) in the run-up to COP27. The JMC confirmed the willingness of the EU and Canada to coordinate on respective approaches to carbon pricing and carbon border adjustments to prevent carbon leakage in a WTO compatible way and to accelerate global climate action. The JMC also confirmed the intention of the EU and Canada to work together to engage international partners to expand the global coverage of carbon pricing as an efficient, cost-effective and powerful tool to reduce emissions and stimulate clean innovation.
30. The JMC underlined the joint commitment of the EU and Canada to support the most vulnerable countries against climate change threats and to deliver on climate finance objectives. This includes by continuing to contribute to the collective goals of developed countries to at least double the collective provision of climate finance for adaptation to developing countries from 2019 levels by 2025, and to mobilize jointly $100 billion per year as soon as possible in the context of meaningful mitigation actions and transparency on implementation. Prospective opportunities for coordination and synergies, such as in the framework of the Great Green Wall (GGW) Initiative in the Sahel, were also underlined.
31. The JMC confirmed the EU and Canada’s intention to work actively and collaboratively to promote energy security while deepening cooperation on our mutual net-zero energy transition notably through the EU-Canada High Level Energy Dialogue (HLED). The next HLED meeting will take place in the second half of 2022 to discuss priority engagement supporting this transition both bilaterally and globally. The HLED will also promote, where possible, triangular Canada-EU-U.S. cooperation. The EU and Canada reaffirmed their commitment to advancing energy security cooperation through a specific working group under HLED, the Canada-EU energy security working group, which was announced by Commission President von der Leyen and Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau on March 23 and which has begun to meet. The JMC also welcomed the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) initiative on “Empowering People: Skills & Inclusivity for Just Transitions” launched in June 2021, and looked forward to its continued implementation.
32. The JMC recalled the close link between climate change, biodiversity loss and food systems and emphasised the strong convergence of views between the EU and Canada on these crucial matters. The EU and Canada pledged to work together to ensure an ambitious outcome of the negotiations of the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework in the context of the Convention on Biological Diversity. The EU and Canada also reaffirmed their commitment to the transition towards more resource-efficient and circular economies, building notably on their membership of the Global Alliance on Circular Economy and Resource Efficiency (GACERE), as well as relevant engagement within G7 and G20. The EU and Canada also reaffirmed support for the important work by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and UN Environment Assembly (UNEA) to tackle pollution, including the recent UNEA resolution to end plastic pollution. They also pledged to continue working together towards an ambitious outcome of the negotiations to develop an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution, including in the marine environment, based-on a comprehensive approach that addresses the full lifecycle of plastics.
33. Acknowledging that ocean governance is a shared challenge and responsibility, and that only international cooperation can ensure the conservation and sustainable use of oceans, their resources and ecosystems, the JMC also recalled the launch of the EU-Canada Ocean Partnership Forum at the EU-Canada Summit of June 2021, aimed at reinforcing cooperation on promoting ocean sustainability through joint initiatives. The JMC emphasised the importance of the upcoming UN Ocean Conference (27 June to 1 July 2022), as a unique occasion to achieve further progress on the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14, the conservation of our Oceans, and the transition to a sustainable blue economy. The participation of Canada in the High Ambition Coalition on Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ), launched by the EU at the One Ocean Summit on 11 February 2022, demonstrates a joint commitment to conclude negotiations in 2022 and to ensure an ambitious, effective, inclusive, fair, balanced and future-proofed BBNJ under the auspices of the United Nations.
34. The EU and Canada looked forward to jointly implementing the various initiatives announced today and to further expanding our cooperation to contribute positively to the lives of people in Europe and Canada, as well as of the global community.