Remarks during the visit of the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen
Good morning, everyone.
It is a real pleasure to welcome President von der Leyen to Canada. Ursula, thank you so much for being here. No matter where we are, NATO meetings, Canada-EU Summit, Brussels, G7 leaderships, I’ve always been able to count on your insights, your friendship and your steadfast values.
Just ahead of International Women’s Day tomorrow, I’m struck by the fact that we’re here not only with the President of the European Union, but also with our Deputy Prime Minister, our Minister of Defence and our Minister of Foreign Affairs who all happen to be strong women leaders, that is always a pleasure to see. Every day their expertise and dedication makes the future brighter for people on both sides of the Atlantic.
The ties that bind Canada and Europe are strong and our solidarity continues to grow. Today we are strengthening our partnership even further, starting with our joint support for Ukraine.
We’re here at Canadian Forces Base Kingston to meet and thank the women and men supporting operations in Europe. This includes personnel involved in training Ukrainian security forces, Canadians in uniform who’ve been deployed in Poland to support Ukrainian refugees, and in Latvia to support NATO.
There can be doubt, just as the resolve of our brave women and men in uniform is unwavering, so too is the bond between Canada and Europe. Already Canada has provided military support to Ukraine and put in place sanctions and punitive economic measures against the Russian regime. Together, President von der Leyen and I also cohosted an international pledging event for Ukrainians who’ve been forced from their homes, many of whom have become refuges. For as long as it takes, we will stand shoulder to shoulder together with our European partners for Ukraine.
Today, I can announce that we are extending our engineering training as part of Operation UNIFIER, until at least the fall and deploying CAF medical trainers to help Ukrainian forces with combat medical skills. We’re also investing $3 million for demining in Ukraine and working with the EU to deliver energy equipment to Ukraine for their power grid.
I am pleased to announce that the training of combat engineers as part of Operation UNIFIER is being extended until at least October 2023. CAF medical trainers will also be deployed to assist Ukrainian forces in developing combat medic skills.
In addition, the European Union has granted Canada partner country status in its export control and sanctions regime against Russia, which will help us strengthen our cooperation in the enforcement of sanctions. As I told President von der Leyen, Canada will stand by the people of Ukraine for as long as it takes.
Today, the President and I also talked about another shared priority, growing strong and resilient economies, and creating jobs on both sides of the Atlantic. For over six years now, CETA has helped our businesses work together to create growth and opportunities. Later this afternoon, we’ll be visiting a Canadian company that recycles lithium-ion batteries for clean tech like electric vehicles. Li-Cycle is not only creating jobs and building up our critical mineral supply in Canada, they’re opening plants in Europe too so they can do the same there.
Whether it’s ways that Canada is leading, or ways the EU is leading, or ways in which we’re leading together, this partnership means good jobs for our workers and resources that the world needs. So today, we’re strengthening this partnership even further.
During Chancellor Schultz’s visit last summer, a commitment was made to make the first hydrogen exports to Germany by 2025. Today, a new phase is being announced with a Canada-EU enhanced action plan on hydrogen.
The new Canada-EU enhanced action plan on hydrogen will mobilize investment, support businesses, share expertise and get clean Canadian hydrogen to Europe. Fundamentally it’s about good middle-class jobs, economic growth and clean energy. This is on top of work together on protecting nature and fighting climate change to deliver a strong future for our kids and grandkids.
There is so much that Canada and Europe share, a commitment to the people of Ukraine, to defending democracy and international law, to protecting human rights. Shared values like gender equality and a commitment to growing the middle-class and making sure people have good careers they can be proud of and build their families and communities around, and a belief that we can and will build a strong healthy future for generations to come.
Canada and Europe are friends, allies and trading partners. By strengthening our ties, we are building a stronger and brighter future for all our citizens. Ursula, once again, it is a great pleasure to have you here with us today.