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Statement by President von der Leyen at the joint press conference with President Michel and Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, following the EU-Canada Summit

Met dank overgenomen van Europese Commissie (EC), gepubliceerd op dinsdag 15 juni 2021.

Thank you so much,

A very warm welcome to you Justin,

It is so good to have you here in Brussels. Of course, we did have excellent exchanges at the G7. But meeting you here in Brussels gives us, as Europeans, the opportunity to let you know how much we value our very special partnership with Canada. We do share the same interests; we have the same values; we share the same worldview. And we have the same understanding that it is multilateralism that we want to strengthen to address today's global challenges. So indeed, yesterday, we explored ways to deepen this partnership.

First of all, let me have a look at the health topic. We will work hand in hand to overcome this pandemic. And indeed, the very first topic is always vaccines. There is a high demand for global vaccines. We want to make sure that Canada knows that you can count on us, that you can count on the European solidarity. Canada is the EU's top-four export destination for COVID-19 vaccines. We have ensured an uninterrupted export of vaccines to Canada, and we will continue of course to do so.

Now, what we really need, besides vaccines, is to be better prepared. So I was very grateful, Justin, for your support at the Global Health Summit in Rome, where we created the Rome Declaration. Because by that we now have a roadmap to recover and to be more prepared and better prepared to deal with global health crises in the future. We need better surveillance; we need better preparedness in the infrastructure. It would be good if we work together, and we agreed on that, to reform WHO, because in particular we have to improve the early warning system and we have to improve the investigative powers of WHO. Because we all know that we lost precious months at the beginning of the pandemic.

As part of these lessons learnt, yesterday we decided to launch an EU-Canada dialogue on health. We will share expertise; we will share lessons learnt and best practices to be better prepared and work closely together on these issues. We also discussed how to ensure that new technologies, like mRNA, come to Africa or for example to Latin America. And one important step here is to find a consensual form within the TRIPS Agreement. So here also, thank you for the cooperation.

On climate change: The EU and Canada will also work closely on fighting climate change. We count on Canada as our strong ally in this fight. We have discussed the way to global carbon pricing - that would be ideal if we have many supporters on carbon pricing - but of course, also in that context, how to sustain our competitiveness, and the question of industrial transition and how to prevent carbon leakage. Both Canada and the European Union have an ambitious climate agenda. And we both know that it is not only about goals - it is good to have strong goals, ambitious goals - but it is about how to get to those goals.

And there, we offered to coordinate closely before Glasgow. Because we need an ambitious agreement with the international community to make Glasgow, the COP26, a success. I very much welcome Canada's commitment to tackling the loss of biodiversity, and your decision to join the EU in banning single-use plastics. Because we also need to team up on our way to Kunming, to the COP15. Our planet needs us, and it needs us to set an ambitious global biodiversity framework for the COP15 - it should be like the Paris Agreement, but now for biodiversity.

Speaking of sustainability: We agreed on building a strategic partnership on raw materials. We, as Europeans, want to diversify our imports away from producers like China. Because we want more sustainability, we want less environmental damage and we want transparency on labour conditions. These raw materials - like for example critical minerals and metals - are indispensable for the green and the digital transition.

On trade, we had the occasion to reaffirm our commitment to the full implementation of CETA. It is a crucial asset for our economies, on our way to recovery. And the figures are quite telling: if you look at 2019, trade between the European Union and Canada increased by 25% for goods and by 39% for services, compared to pre-CETA levels. So it is good for jobs, it is good for growth on both sides of the Atlantic. For that, we should work together to solve the issues that prevent CETA from unleashing its full potential for jobs and growth.

Finally, let me mention research. As you know, the next EU budget for the next seven years is in place and it includes a very substantial envelope for research and innovation, our Horizon Europe programme. We invited Canadian researchers to participate in our programmes. We want them with us to intensify the exchanges between our innovators, for example in bioeconomy, advanced manufacturing, clean energy, digital technologies, you just name it. And our Canadian friends were happy about this invitation. So many, many thanks to our friends and strong allies. And a very warm welcome again to Brussels.

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