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Formal talks to begin today at EU-Canada Summit in Newfoundland

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ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — Formal talks are expected to begin today between Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and two top heads of the European Union.

European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen are in St. John’s, N.L., for the 19th EU-Canada Summit.

Climate change, hydrogen energy and the ongoing wars in Gaza and Ukraine are all expected to be prominent topics on the leaders’ agenda.

Jeremy Kinsman, a former Canadian ambassador to the EU in Brussels, says both parties are likely thinking their strategic partnership will become much more vital if Donald Trump manages to win the United States presidency again.

Achim Hurrelmann, a Carleton University professor who co-directs the school’s Centre for European Studies, agreed, noting that the EU and Canada pulled closer during Trump’s presidency, which ended in 2020.

Hurrelmann says the summit is fairly routine, though he says he expects a fair bit of discussion about green energy, especially with meetings being held in Newfoundland, where several green hydrogen projects have been proposed with Germany as a target market.

“Something that I’ve sometimes heard said about the EU-Canada relationship is that it’s a problem that there are no problems,” Hurrelmann said in an interview. 

“There isn’t really often any compelling reason to necessarily phone the president of the European Commission or something like that, because usually Canada and the EU share similar perceptions on global issues. But this is a good opportunity to make sure that doesn’t mean we don’t pay attention to each other in the relationship.”

Leaders are expected to hold a joint press conference late this morning after their discussions.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 24, 2023.

The Canadian Press

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