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2011 Report to the Canada-European Union Joint Cooperation Committee

Canada-European Union Relations

  • 2011 has been a busy year for Canada-European Union relations, and we foresee an equally busy year ahead.  Ongoing negotiation of a number of bilateral agreements is a sign of a healthy, vibrant relationship that continues to grow and flourish. 
  • It is natural for two longstanding partners with such a deep and complex relationship to have their share of disagreements, and we continue to address each of these through the appropriate channels without letting them undermine the overall positive state of the relationship.
  • Amidst an uncertain global economic situation and a shifting political landscape, close cooperation between like-minded partners such as Canada and the EU is an essential factor in order for us jointly to meet the challenges that await us in 2012 and beyond.

Trade and Investment Sub-Committee

  • The Trade and Investment Sub-Committee (TISC) continues to be a valuable forum for Canada-EU dialogue on commercial irritants and barriers, as well as bilateral trade and investment.
  • The TISC meetings of April 8 and December 1, 2011 provided for useful and productive discussions on a range of commercial issues of interest to both sides.
  • The TISC discussions and follow-up actions continue to be successful in driving progress on and resolving issues.

Strategic Partnership Agreement

  • Canada and the EU launched negotiations toward a Strategic Partnership Agreement in September 2011. Negotiators have been able to reach agreement in principle on the majority of the text.
  • The SPA will enhance Canada-EU cooperation on a range of bilateral and multilateral issues, and will enable us to act together to project our shared values to third countries on key issues such as international peace and security, non-proliferation, democracy and the rule of law.
  • We aspire to an early conclusion of the agreement.

Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement

  • Canada and the EU are committed to maintaining the rapid pace and momentum of the negotiations thus far to meet the goal of concluding in 2012. 
  • With no further full formal negotiating rounds envisaged, negotiations have now entered a more intensive and focused stage as negotiators move from the broader issues to more targeted sessions.
  • The negotiating text is now well advanced and issues in the remaining chapters have been narrowed down to key differences where solutions are being actively explored.
  • An ambitious agreement holds great potential to help Canada and the EU create more opportunities, jobs and prosperity through increased trade and investment.

Agreement on the Exchange of Classified Information

  • Canada and the EU have come very close to concluding an agreement that will facilitate the exchange of classified information between them.
  • This agreement will not only enable the parties to work more closely in coordinating their cooperation and policies in reaction to international events and disasters, but will also enable joint cooperation in sensitive technological research and development projects.
  • Both parties are committed to complete the necessary steps to ensure the entry into force of the agreement at the earliest possible date.


  • Canada and the EU work together in the area of Arctic science and research. Canadal ooks forward to welcoming participants from the EU at the International Polar Year Conference: From Knowledge to Action taking place in Montreal in April 2012.
  • Canada followed with interest the European Parliament report, A sustainable EU policy for the High North, released in January 2011 and the efforts of the Parliament to seek out the views of Arctic stakeholders.
  • In March 2011 a delegation of EU officials visited local authorities and Inuit representatives in Iqaluit, Nunavut as well as federal ministries and indigenous representatives in Ottawa. The mission focused on the importance of the renewed and regular dialogue between the EU and the indigenous populations in the Arctic Region.
  • Canada and the EU continue to engage with each other as the EU develops its Arctic policy. Canada looks forward to seeing the final outcomes.

Trade in Seal Products

  • In April 2011, a WTO Dispute Settlement Panel was established at the request of Canada and Norway to address divergent opinions on the EU Regulation (EC) No 1007/2009 on the trade in seal products and its implementing legislation (Regulation (EU) no 737/2010).
  • Panellists had not been selected by the end of 2011.

Humane Trapping

  • The Agreement on International Humane Trapping Standards is a successful model for science-based protection of animal welfare in international trade.
  • Canadaand the EU reaffirm their commitment to implementing the existing humane trapping standards laid out in the agreement before considering more ambitious standards.
  • The meeting of the Joint Management Committee of the Agreement on International Humane Trapping Standards hosted by Canada in October 2011, was informative, and the parties look forward to next year’s meeting, to be hosted by the EU.


  • Canada and the EU continue to work together to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unregulated, and unreported fishing of which traceability is an important component. Both Canada and the EU are committed to promoting and strengthening traceability within their fisheries to foster the overall well-being of marine ecosystems.
  • Canada and the EU agree on the necessity for sustainable, science-based catch limits and improved compliance and functioning of regional fisheries management organizations.
  • In the 2011 meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna, our delegations worked closely toward reaching agreement on a measure for the conservation of porbeagle shark. Both sides remain committed to working toward a solution that meets respective needs. With regard to the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization, both delegations will continue to work closely in 2012, in particular with regard to the rebuilding of depleted stocks, responsible management of active fisheries, protection of vulnerable marine ecosystems, and in improving the overall governance of the organization through the implementation of key recommendations of the 2011 performance review process.
  • Canada and the EU continue to work within the Food and Agriculture Organization to improve fisheries management including through the Technical Consultation on Flag State Performance and discussions to develop traceability guidelines. 

Science & Technology

  • The active engagement by the Canadian delegation in the 2011 EU Joint Science and Technology Coordinating Committee (JSTCC) Meeting (Ottawa, 3-4 October 2011) underlines Canada’s commitment to continued research collaboration with the EU.
  • The Canadian delegation and the European Commission delegation at the JSTCC were able to take stock of the state of science and technology cooperation between Canada and the EU with a particular emphasis on the Framework 7 Programme.
  • Progress at the JSTCC was evident in addressing mutual challenges and priorities as well as encouraging stronger private sector engagement in Canada-EU science and technology cooperation. This very productive meeting will better position the research and innovation community in Canada and the EU to participate more effectively in the remainder of the Framework 7 Programme and eventually in Horizon 2020 (future EU research and innovation programme).

Health Cooperation

  • At a bilateral meeting in Paris in December 2011, Leona Aglukkaq, Canadian Minister of Health and John Dalli, European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy, confirmed their strong interest in continued health collaboration, particularly in enhancing regulatory cooperation in health and consumer product areas, and in strengthening health security issues at the global level.
  • Following up on the 2009 EU-Canada Summit declaration which identified “enhanced cooperation on health promotion in young people” as a new area of research and policy cooperation, Canada participated in a major EU conference in Brussels in December 2010, which included productive exchanges on physical activity and healthy living.
  • The multinational network of centres of excellence for collaboration on research into neurodegenerative diseases, established by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and its European counterparts in 2010, continued its collaborative work to develop common platforms and technologies to study neurodegenerative diseases, and positioned multinational teams to take advantage of future joint programming opportunities.


  • The Canada-EU High Level Environment Dialogue takes place roughly every twelve to eighteen months, and is held at the level of the Deputy Minister (or alternate) of Environment Canada and the Director General (or alternate) for Environment at the European Commission.
  • These meetings represent an opportunity for strategic discussions on topical environmental issues of a bilateral or multilateral nature, as well as for exchanging views on respective approaches and identifying possible areas for future cooperation.
  • At the High Level Dialogue held in Gatineau in October 2011, Canada and the EU discussed issues related to multilateral environmental agreements, biodiversity, green growth and international environmental governance, and environmental collaboration in the Arctic.
  • The European Commission and Canada also meet regularly in the context of international environmental meetings, both bilaterally and in wider formats.
  • The EU continues to urge Canada to lift its opposition to the listing of chrysotile asbestos under the Rotterdam Convention.

Climate Change

  • Like Canada, the EU has called for the establishment of a single, legally binding international climate change agreement with the Copenhagen Accord and Cancun Agreements as its basis.
  • The Durban Platform reached at the 17th Conference of Parties in South Africa is a significant step forward in international climate negotiations. The Durban Platform sets out a process to negotiate a new climate change treaty by 2015 that will come into effect and be implemented from 2020 and that will include commitments by all major emitters.
  • Canada and the EU will work with our international partners to achieve a fair and effective new climate agreement that includes commitments by all major emitters.


  • The second meeting of the Canada-EU High-Level Energy Dialogue took place in Brussels in February 2011.
  • The meeting focused on shared energy policy issues and featured discussions on Canada and EU energy policy overviews, offshore oil and gas and carbon capture and storage.
  • Canada continues to urge the EU to implement its Fuel Quality Directive in a manner that does not discriminate against Canadian energy resources. The EU assured Canada that the Commission's approach is non-discriminatory and science based.


  • Negotiations between Canada and Euratom on a new bilateral nuclear cooperation agreement took place in 2010-2011. Canada’s legal advisors have identified a number of issues that need to be clarified before final agreement can be reached.
  • The importance of arriving at an up-to-date agreement reflecting the EU’s expanded membership and earlier bilateral Nuclear Cooperation Agreements with Canada is appreciated by both sides.
  • It is paramount that both parties reach agreement on a mutually satisfactory text. This may take some time and require further negotiations.


  • Over the past few years, the International Civil Aviation Organization has undertaken work to advance the climate change and international aviation dialogue. Canada, the EU and its EU Member States have been active participants in this dialogue. 
  • As part of its policy to tackle climate change, the EU, through legislation adopted in 2009, included international aviation in its Emissions Trading System (ETS) effective January 1, 2012. 
  • At the same time, the EU is aware that the legislation has given rise to concerns on the part of some countries, including Canada, and is open to constructive dialogue and consultations with third countries with a view to finding an agreed way forward, consistent with the ICAO Resolution adopted in 2010.
  • Both Canada and the EU believe that ICAO is the appropriate forum at which to develop a coordinated, global approach to address climate change issues related to international aviation. The EU welcomes the fact that the ICAO Council has begun accelerating its work in this area since November 2011.
  • Canada is looking to the EU and its Member States for an indication of goodwill that would encourage work at ICAO to continue towards a global framework for market based measures and that would avoid escalation against the EU ETS. 
  • The EU legislation foresees two important flexibilities: to exempt incoming flights to take into account action by third countries, and to review and possibly amend the legislation if and when an agreement on market based measures is found in ICAO. The EU is willing to explore these flexibilities which are not mutually exclusive.
  • Under the EU-Canada Air Transport Agreement, the Preliminary Joint Committee held its meeting on February 9, 2011, and discussed various issues relating to the implementation of the Agreement such as ratification, competition, statistics, security, airline ownership, fuel taxation, code-sharing, labour, and legislative and policy developments.

Border Management Issues

Passenger Name Record Negotiations

  • Negotiations between Canada and the EU for a new, modernized agreement on Passenger Name Record are ongoing.
  • Talks have revealed great similarities between Canadian and EU values on data protection and fundamental rights, as well as opportunities for co-operation between Canadian and EU authorities to ensure the safety and security of the public.
  • The parties have reached agreement on most issues. While there remain some items which require further discussion, the EU and Canada are optimistic that negotiations will conclude in winter-spring 2012, to be followed by the parties’ respective approval processes.

Supply Chain Security Agreement Negotiations

  • The negotiators of the two sides came to an agreement (subject to consultations on both sides) on the Canada-EU Supply Chain Security Agreement (SCSA) text in December 2011 and the text will enter the legislative approval process in both Canada and the EU in early 2012.
  • Although ambitious, successful negotiations to date suggest that ratification of the Canada-EU SCSA is possible by early 2013, notwithstanding amendments that may be required throughout each party’s ratification processes.
  • The two sides will strive to synchronize their implementation plans so that both enter the ratification stages of the SCSA process in unison. This will ensure that the momentum generated to establish enhanced cooperation between respective customs administrations is maintained.

Schengen Overstay

  • Canada and the EU discussed the problem of Canadian tourists inadvertently staying in the Schengen Area beyond the permitted time limits (90 days).
  • The EU has offered to work closely with Canada to assist Canadian tourists by ensuring that Schengen Area entry and exit rules are comprehensible and consistently applied, especially at external borders.
  • Canada has in force 17 bilateral agreements which were concluded before the entry into force of 1985 Schengen Agreement.  Of these, 15 allow visitors to stay for three months, with the other two for two months.  Canada is seeking re-confirmation with the 17 states that the agreements between Canada and these individual countries continue to be valid and would be regarded as such at points of entry and exit.

Migration Issues

  • The EU and EU Member States are valued partners on a range of migration and asylum issues. Strengthened collaboration between Canada and the EU and sharing best practices on these issues is in the interests of both parties.
  • Canada would like to explore opportunities for collaboration and information exchange with the newly-established European Asylum Support Office.


  • Canada recognizes the importance of the visa issue to EU citizens and will continue to work cooperatively with the European Commission and individual Member States on these matters.
  • Canada’s ultimate goal is to be able to offer visa-free travel to nationals of all EU Member States. At the moment, there are still challenges that need to be addressed so that this goal can be achieved.
  • Canada also conveyed its hope that the European Commission and Member States would continue to address issues that lead to irregular migration and to cooperate with Canada to prevent and address any future spikes in asylum claims.  At the same time, Canada has continued to keep the EU fully informed of the ongoing reform of its own asylum system.

Higher Education, Training and Youth

  • The Canada-EU Framework Agreement for Cooperation in Higher Education, Training and Youth, Joint Committee meeting was held in February 2011, in Ottawa. 
  • In June 2011, the International Academic Mobility initiative, which supports Canadian post-secondary institutions in offering international learning opportunities to their students, was rescinded by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, which manages the program. While all current funding agreements will be honoured, after March 31, 2015, no new funding will be available to support the 2011 call for proposals or in future years.
  • In September 2011, a delegation of 32 students from 27 European countries visited Canada as part of the Canada-EU Study Tour “Thinking Canada” which is designed to enable European students to obtain exposure to a wide variety of organizations in Canada.
  • A joint study (“Tuning feasibility study”) on the feasibility of adopting the same approach to implement the Bologna Process (to increase compatibility in Higher Education within Europe) was launched in October together with the Canadian Bureau for International Education.
  • A Canada-EU Policy Roundtable on “Youth Participation” was held in Helsinki, Finland in October 2011. The event was hosted by the EU and co-organized by Canada and drew 80 participants.



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