Address by Prime Minister Trudeau to the European Parliament

Address by Prime Minister Trudeau to the European Parliament


(Prime Minister Justin Trudeau): President Tajani, distinguished Parliamentarians, ladies and gentlemen, good
morning. It is a privilege for me to be here today. This marks the first address to the
European Parliament by a sitting Canadian prime minister, so I would like to sincerely
thank you for this honour. As you know, I was in Brussels a few months ago to formally
sign the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement and the Strategic Partnership Agreement.
President Tusk, President Juncker, Prime Minister Fico and I took an important step toward deepening
our relationship and expanding free and progressive trade between Canada and the European Union.
Yesterday, we took a huge step. 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.
The more things change…. 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 good 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 that we collectively face as an international community. Indeed,
the whole world benefits from a strong EU. (Applause) On behalf of Canadians, thank you for this continued and respectful relationship, rooted
in our culture, our history and our friendship. In fact, the relationship between Canada and
the European Union has become a model of international collaboration. I would like to thank Dan Costello,
Canada’s current ambassador to the European Union, for his excellent service to our country.
I must also thank and highlight the extraordinary work of our chief negotiator for this historic
agreement, Steve Verheul, for his exceptional service, his hard work every step of the way,
throughout all the years it took. Thank you. I must also announce the appointment of our
new senior spokesperson for the European continent, our new ambassador to the European Union,
and to Laragne, 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 as we embark on this next important chapter
together. 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 a priority for me because I appreciate the value of our relationship, and what we
share. I believe that the relationship between Canada
and the EU is so resilient because it is centred 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 in diversity. We know that in these times we must choose
to lead the international economy, not simply be subject 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, we 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 has reached the
finish line, and I think we can all agree that CETA was an extremely ambitious undertaking
and will also prove to be one our biggest successes. I’d like to express my deepest
gratitude to Canada’s former Minister of International Trade — now Minister of Foreign
Affairs — Chrystia Freeland. And once again, our chief negotiator, Steve Verheul, and his
EU counterparts for their tireless efforts in reaching this agreement. 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. I know that I can count on the
many talents of François Philippe to work with the business community and all citizens
to take the necessary steps to ensure that this agreement reaches its full potential.
Now let’s be clear. A deal as ambitious as CETA takes a lot of hard work. Every one
of us in this room knows that it wasn’t easy. It took a lot of back and forth. It
took extended discussions and negotiations, meetings in Canada, meetings in Europe. We
can’t understate how important it was to get this deal right. Trade needs to work for
people, people who are struggling to make ends meet and raise their families, for people
who worry that their future or their children’s future won’t hold the same promise and opportunities
that it did for past generations. The people we represent will support trade if it creates
better jobs and makes their lives more affordable. That’s what they expect of us, and I for
one, fully intend to make sure that we deliver. (Applause) My friends, we’re all seasoned politicians in this room. We know it is always much, much
easier to point out problems than it is to solve them. It’s harder to work to build
than it is to tear things down. Well, with CETA, together we have built something, something
important, especially at this moment, on your continent and mine. Now we need to make it
work for your people and mine. If we are successful, CETA will become the blueprint for all ambitious
future trade deals. If we are not, this could well be one of the last. So make no mistake
about it. This is an important moment. The motto of the European Union, united in
diversity, is a great reminder of what can be accomplished when we recognize that we
are stronger not in spite of our differences, but because of them. (Applause) Now, we live in a time when many people are
worried that the current system only benefits society’s luckiest few, and their concern
is valid. The anxiety people have toward the economy and trade, the worry that our kids
would have access to the same jobs and opportunities that we had can be addressed only if we ensure
that trade is inclusive so that everyone benefits. And this agreement — the Comprehensive Economic
and Trade Agreement — delivers just that, because at its heart, CETA is a framework
for trade that works for everyone. This agreement will result in the creation
of good, well-paying jobs for the middle class. It will put food on the table for families
and will help grow and strengthen our communities. Let’s say you’re a budding entrepreneur
with a new product or an innovative solution, and you’re having a tough time reaching
new consumers. Well, CETA has just opened the door to new markets. And what if you’re
a consumer looking to buy imported goods, but you know they cost too much? For example,
Manitobah Mukluks, wonderful winter boots made by a Canadian, Indigenous-founded company,
are currently subject to a 17% tariff in Europe. Well, with the ratification of CETA, those
tariffs are removed, and you, as a consumer, could pay much less at the checkout, when
you really want beautiful winter boots. (Applause) Trade that is free and fair means we can make the lives of our citizens more affordable
and create more jobs. It means that manufacturers can expand their products’ global reach,
gain market share and successfully compete with the best in the world. And it means that
folks working in service sectors like engineering, architecture and information technology will
see greater predictability and transparency when dealing with international clients.
At the end of the day, both Canada and the EU want to do what’s best for our people.
We want hardworking families, we want hardworking people to make a good living and support their
families. We want moms and dads to be able to give their kids better opportunities than
they ever had. We want each generation of Canadians and Europeans to be better off and
to have a higher standard of living than the one that preceded it. And deals like CETA,
which is centred on the idea of trade that is both free and fair, will get us there.
At the end of the day by making it easier to buy and sell products, we can expand opportunities
for our businesses, both back in Canada and right across the EU. For everyone, for small
businesses, for entrepreneurs, for hardworking farmers and fishers, we can create jobs for
the middle class and make sure that the benefits of trade reach our citizens.
Make no mistake: it isn’t just about trade, imports, exports, profits. It’s about making
people’s lives better. CETA is a comprehensive blueprint for responsible economic cooperation
between countries. This modern, forward looking agreement reflects a truly progressive trade
agenda, with provisions that protect the ability of societies to promote the public good. CETA
ensures that governments can continue to protect their citizens. Protect labour; promote responsible
investment practices; ensure food and consumer safety; strengthen forest, fishery and aquaculture management; and ensure strong environmental stewardship. My friends, this really is one
of the most sustainable, progressive trade agreements in the world. To all members present,
thank you for your hard work over the last several years in making this ambitious goal
a reality. I know that all our citizens will be better served for it.
Canada and the European Union have been friends, partners and allies for a very long time,
and our natural, easy relationship is grounded in what we have in common. We share goals
and aspirations for a better, safer and fairer world. We want to do what’s right by the
workers and families we were elected to represent. And we embrace change, seeking the opportunity
to lead in a global economy that’s constantly evolving. CETA and the SPA, these landmark
agreements, are a direct reflection of what we have in common and they will serve to benefit
Canadians and Europeans alike for generations to come.
In the things we have agreed upon so far and in the discussions that lie ahead, the Canada-EU
strategic partnership will forever be rooted in respect with an eye to the future. My friends
and dear colleagues, it’s safe to say that this is just the beginning. For Canada and
the European Union, the best is very much yet to come.
Thank you, everyone. (Applause) Thank you very much.

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