France and Canada share a long history and a strong bond formed by people-to-people, linguistic, cultural, political and economic ties. France and Canada are united by the memory of sacrifices and combat alongside one another during the First and Second World Wars, which we have agreed today to continue commemorating over the years to come. While these close ties are based on our common history and language, they are also focused on the future. Today they are made even stronger by intense exchanges between individuals, businesses, postsecondary institutions and civil society organizations. Our common objective is to develop them further. France and Canadaare working together to promote our shared values of democracy, human rights and the rule of law both in the Francophonie and elsewhere. We are also working together to promote development and international security around the world.
Economic growth, employment and competitiveness are priorities for both of our countries. Our objective is to bring our economic and trade relations to new heights by increasing exchanges and two-way investment. French investment in Canada has grown by 10 percent in the past two years, and 550 French companies, representing over 80 000 employees, are now present across Canada. Canadian investment in France is also growing fast: 280 Canadian firms are present there in a number of sectors, and employ 40 000 people.
We look forward to concluding Canada-European Union (EU) Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) negotiations in a spirit of reciprocity and mutual benefit. A CETA will create new opportunities for exchanges between our businesses and will contribute to employment growth in European and Canadian economies. It will strengthen investment and reinforce economic relations between the EU and Canada, and between France and Canada. The EU plays a key role in Canada’s balance of trade: it is Canada’s second leading trading partner for goods and services and ranks as Canada’s second most important source and destination for foreign direct investment. Canada is also an important trading and investment partner for the EU. In this spirit of greater cooperation and in order to reaffirm our attachment to our common values, we are also working towards the conclusion of a Strategic Partnership Agreement between the European Union and Canada.
As a tangible example of our close relationship, we have enhanced the Canada-France Youth Mobility Agreement. By easing the restrictions on mobility between Canada and France, this new agreement will allow French and Canadian youth to broaden their horizons, develop a better understanding of our countries’ respective history and culture, contribute to the economies and societies of their host country and gain educational, employment or training experience that will serve them in good stead upon their return to their country of origin. We have agreed to enter into a dialogue on new ways of improving this mechanism for exchanges between our youth in the future.
We have also signed a renewed and modernized Canada-France Agreement on Social Security. This agreement will facilitate benefit eligibility and foster transatlantic mobility of workers while further strengthening coordination of our social security systems.
We have also signed a Joint Action Plan for collaboration on science, technology, innovation and entrepreneurship in which we commit to strengthening the partnerships between our government authorities, businesses and postsecondary institutions so as to promote innovation and prosperity while supporting basic and applied research. This Joint Action Plan designates priority areas of research in which both our countries excel, such as health, the environment and energy.
Recognizing the objectives and guiding principles of UNESCO's Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions in connection with the dialogue among cultures, and knowing that the digital revolution is a source both of opportunities but also of challenges for the creative sector, Canada and France undertake to strengthen their collaboration in this field. This will be achieved by sharing expertise and information on digital innovation, including in relation to business practices and public policies connected with the transformation of methods for funding, creating and accessing cultural and heritage contents in general, and French-language contents in particular.
In an uncertain world where budgetary restraint has made international cohesion and solidarity more difficult in the management of crises, France and Canada have chosen to strengthen their bilateral defence relationship, including in the material sector, as part of the effort to modernize military hardware. Buoyed by a close and confident dialogue, our partnership has proven its worth in some of the most challenging environments. The quality of our armed forces and our shared political determination have enabled us to respond jointly to current conflicts, like the one in Mali, and to collaborate in NATO operations, including those in Afghanistan and Libya. These shared experiences, as well as the development of national capabilities and joint actions, drive our vision of NATO’s future. To this end, our governments are encouraging the development of our joint research efforts to invent the defence technologies of tomorrow through cooperation at the government and industry level, but also at the academic level.
We reaffirm our strong commitment to defend international security and fight terrorism. In response to a request from the Malian authorities, France intervened to restore the territorial integrity of Mali and counter the offensive launched by AQIM and its allies. France thanks Canada for the significant logistical support it has provided and for its contribution to joint actions aimed at strengthening security in the region. A long-lasting solution in Mali requires a political process, including the organization of democratic elections and dialogue on national reconciliation. France and Canada intend to continue to contribute as leading partners to Mali’s long-term development.
With respect to Syria, we condemn in the strongest possible terms the repression and spiral of violence initiated by the regime of Bashar Al-Assad against his own people. Our cooperation has been exemplary, and it will continue in order to avoid greater chaos in the region. We will continue to support the emergence of a stable, democratic and inclusive Syria. France and Canada share serious concerns over the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and intend to continue their efforts to fight this scourge, whether by maintaining effective control of their export or by investing in the appropriate international institutions. Iran’s nuclear program and its persistent refusal to cooperate with the international community continue to be of particular concern to us. Consequently, we reaffirm the importance of the E3+3 (P5+1) process. In this light, it is essential that the international community remain united, particularly in the implementation of sanctions to encourage Iran to comply with its international obligations. We also reaffirm our concerns about human rights in Iran.
The resumption of direct negotiations without preconditions between Israel and the Palestinians is necessary to finding a just and lasting peace based on a two-state solution that will guarantee Israel’s right to live in peace and security with its neighbours and leads to the establishment of a Palestinian state. We encourage both parties to avoid measures that could interfere with a return to peace talks.
We also reaffirm our long-term commitment to Haiti, and will continue to work with Haitian authorities and international partners to strengthen Haiti’s economy, governance, rule of law and security.
We will continue to work closely together in the G8 as we have since 1976. This includes our continued commitment to the Deauville Partnership in support of Arab countries in transition and to addressing key development challenges, including by following through on the Muskoka Initiative for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health.
The global economic recovery remains fragile and must be supported by coordinated measures that promote growth and balanced budgets. Canada and France will work together in the G20 to address the immediate threats to the global economy and to ensure long-term growth and prosperity. France and Canada are fully committed to promoting economic coordination and honouring G20 commitments. Together, we will support the implementation of internal accountability mechanisms for the G20.
With respect to fighting climate change, our two countries are committed to contributing to the working group on the Durban Platform to promote multilateral consensus to result, at COP 2015, in an ambitious global agreement that includes all major emitters. Both countries reaffirm their national commitments to reduce their greenhouse gases to limit global warming to 2°C above pre‑industrial levels. Today we signed a Collaborative Research Agreement between the National Research Council of Canada and the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission aimed at safely and effectively removing certain greenhouse gases from industrial emissions.
France and Canada will also look to cooperate further on the development of clean energy technologies, the advancement of climate science, approaches to regulating greenhouse gas emissions in key sectors, and measures that will aid both countries in moving toward a low-carbon future. Canada welcomes the willingness expressed by France’s to host the conference of the signatories to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 2015.
France and Canada will continue to cooperate closely on issues related to democracy, human rights and good governance, particularly through La Francophonie. They recall their common commitment to fight discrimination, as well as to support universal decriminalization of homosexuality.
We have instructed our Foreign Affairs ministers to develop an enhanced cooperation agenda that will serve as terms of reference for developing further cooperation between our two countries.