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Good morning everyone.
Before I begin, I want to offer my condolences to the relatives of the victims of the terrible terrorist attack in a church in Nice.
There is no place for violence or intolerance in our societies.
Canada stands in solidarity with France and its people in the face of these unjustifiable acts—we are there for you, our French friends.
At the last summit between Canada and the European Union in Montréal last year, we could never have imagined the world we live in today.
But, what we already knew is that Canada can count on the support and commitment of the European Union.
Today, President Michel, President von der Leyen, and I discussed a variety of topics, including our response to COVID-19, the fight against climate change, and our commitment to defending our common values and creating jobs.
I’ll start with our response to the pandemic.
With COVID-19 cases rising in Canada and around the world, job one is keeping people safe.
Canada and the European Union have already committed to the COVAX initiative for global access to vaccines.
Today, we agreed to strengthen that cooperation, including on research, access, procurement, and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.
I’m looking forward to continuing these very important conversations about protecting people’s health.
In our meeting, we also discussed our shared work on the economy.
Over the last three years, the Canada-EU trade agreement has created good jobs on both sides of the Atlantic, with Canadian exports to Europe up by 20 per cent.
Today, we talked about the work to be done on fully implementing the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), to ensure that all Canadians – including farmers, small and medium-sized businesses, and women entrepreneurs – benefit fully from this deal.
Good, progressive trade will be key to rebuilding a strong economy that works for everyone.
Through CETA, we can also create more green jobs.
In fact, Canada will host the CETA Clean Tech Summit, driving our work together to build competitive growth as we fight climate change.
We also had a discussion on energy and natural resources, with a particular focus both on investments in hydrogen and on Canada’s mining sector as a reliable source of minerals critical to a cleaner tech future.
Lastly, President Michel, President von der Leyen, and I discussed the defense of shared values like democracy, human rights, and the rule of law.
Now more than ever, we must push back against authoritarianism and isolationism, while securing democratic norms.
We agreed to work together to protect our democratic systems against cyber threats and disinformation, while addressing the arbitrary detention of our citizens.
On that note, I want to thank President Michel and President von der Leyen for their continued and vocal support for the release of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor.
Just as our partners are there for us, Canada stands with our European friends and allies, notably through NATO.
Despite rising tensions around the world, we will always push for a peaceful and constructive dialogue.
Canada will work with our allies to promote diversity and human rights while combating hatred, violence, and systemic racism.
This includes defending democratic rights in China, Hong Kong, Belarus, and Venezuela, as well as our joint work to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
Together, we will continue to build a more secure and equitable future for all.