Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will travel to Europe next week to mark an important milestone for the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between Canada (CETA) and the European Union.
Trudeau begins his trip by addressing the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, on Feb. 16, a day after the legislature is expected hold a vote ratifying CETA.
Trudeau spoke with Antonio Tajani, president of the European Parliament, on Wednesday when both leaders discussed their commitment to ratify and implement CETA.
According to a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office, it will be the first time a sitting Canadian prime minister has addressed the full European Parliament.
“CETA is the most progressive trade agreement ever negotiated by Canada or the European Union,” Trudeau said in a statement.
“CETA sets a high standard for free trade agreements of the future. It will benefit Canada and the European Union by opening new markets and creating new opportunities for Canadian businesses and workers on both sides of the Atlantic,” he added.
When the 751-seat European Parliament votes for CETA, it will provisionally bring well over 90 per cent of the deal into force, possibly within months.
Canada must pass Bill C-30, its implementation bill, and change some provincial legislation before provisional application can take effect.
All but one of the EU’s 28 member states are expected to hold ratification votes and, in some cases, referendums in their respective jurisdictions before the deal is completely implemented. This process may take years.
Meeting with Merkel
After addressing the European Parliament, Trudeau will be travelling to Berlin and Hamburg, Germany, on Feb. 16 and 17 to meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Trudeau, who last met with Merkel on the fringes of the July 2016 Nato summit in Warsaw, Poland, will sit down with the German leader to discuss “key foreign policy and commercial priorities for Canada and Germany,” according to a release from the PMO.
“Our two countries enjoy robust commercial ties that cover trade, investment, science, technology and innovation, and we are always open to new ways to expand this relationship and grow the middle class in both our countries,” Trudeau said in a statement.
He will also travel to Hamburg to attend the city’s annual St. Matthew’s day banquet as this year’s guest of honour.