Address by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to the European Parliament
February 16, 2017
President Tusk, President Tajani, distinguished Parliamentarians, ladies and gentlemen,
Good morning. It is a privilege to be here today. I’m told that this marks the first address to the EU Parliament by a sitting Canadian Prime Minister, so thank you for allowing me this honour.
As you know, I was in Brussels not too long ago to formally sign the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, and the Strategic Partnership Agreement.
Alongside President Tusk, President Juncker, and Prime Minister Fico, we took an important step towards deepening our relationship and expanding free and progressive trade between Canada and the European Union.
And yesterday, we took another huge step.
One that was decades in the making.
This year, we celebrate 41 years since the diplomatic mission of the European Commission was established in Ottawa, which noticeably happened under a different Prime Minister Trudeau.
And over the course of our historic partnership, Canada and the EU have stood side-by-side on the things that matter.
Things like maintaining global security, advancing the values of peace and justice, creating jobs for our people through trade and investment.
We’ve worked together on climate change, and on the rights of women and girls around the world.
And, my friends, I am confident that we will achieve tremendous things together in the years to come – for the countries we represent, and, most importantly, for the people we serve.
The European Union is a truly remarkable achievement, and an unprecedented model for peaceful cooperation. Canada knows that an effective European voice on the global stage isn’t just preferable – it’s essential.
We know that the EU is the world’s largest donor of development and humanitarian assistance, and that, together, your member states constitute one of the world’s largest economies. You are a vital player in addressing the challenges we collectively face as an international community.
Indeed, the whole world benefits from a strong EU.
On behalf of Canadians, thank you for your continued, respectful engagement with our country. Indeed, the Canada-EU relationship has become an exemplary demonstration of international collaboration.
I’d like to thank Canada’s current Ambassador to the EU, Dan Costello, for his excellent service to our country. Dan has been tremendous in his ongoing support to our new Ambassador, the Honourable Stéphane Dion.
Stéphane, a close friend and mentor, is a man who has long fought to create a better country for all Canadians. He will proudly represent Canada with courage and conviction in this next important chapter.
Now, let me reiterate what a tremendous honour it is for me to represent Canada in this historic chamber today. Coming to Strasbourg, and addressing you, was an important priority for me because I understand and appreciate the nature of what we have here.
I believe that the relationship between Canada and the EU is so resilient because it is centered on an important bedrock of common values – values that shape and define us; values that Canadians and Europeans share.
You see, collectively, we believe in democracy, transparency, and the rule of law. We believe in human rights. And we believe in inclusion and diversity.
We know that, in these times, we must choose to lead the international economy, not simply be subjected to its whims.
And we know that the state has an important role to play – not only in supporting its people, but also in creating the conditions for progress.
And to this last point, awe have just demonstrated to the world that we, collectively, value trade, and the promise of prosperity for all our citizens that comes with it.
Yesterday – in addition to ratifying the Strategic Partnership Agreement – this Parliament voted to ratify the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement.
After years of negotiations, this important trade agreement is finally crossing the finish line. And I think we can all agree – CETA was an enormously ambitious undertaking, and will prove to be one of our greatest successes.
I’d like to express my deepest gratitude to Canada’s former Minister of International Trade – now Minister of Foreign Affairs – Chrystia Freeland; our Chief Negotiator, Steve Verheul; and their EU counterparts for their tireless efforts in getting this deal done.
And I’m confident that our new Minister of International Trade, François-Philippe Champagne, will be a strong voice for Canada on the world stage over the coming years.