- Dicembre 08, 2020
The text of the agreement has not been published, but it will frame cooperation in the economic and foreign policy sectors and cover topics ranging from technology and energy to the Arctic. The Arctic has been a particularly controversial issue, as relations have been cured by the EU`s opposition to the annual sigh of Canada`s seals. Canada has introduced an EU ban on many seal products as an infringement of the rights of indigenous peoples and has responded by preventing the EU from obtaining observer status at the Arctic Council. The war in Ukraine, the resulting crisis in relations with Russia and the EU`s ban on selling technologies used by the Russian oil industry in the Arctic have further tainted the EU`s prospects of gaining more influence in the Arctic this year. Russian President Vladimir Putin has expressed his intention to strengthen Russia`s geopolitical interests in the Arctic and last week Russia strengthened its military presence in the Far North. The meeting between Ashton and Baird on Monday did not specify the timing of the signing of the parallel trade agreement, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). Barroso and Harper announced an agreement in principle on CETA last October, but negotiations were not concluded until August 5. The announcement, which was made shortly before the end of trade negotiations, confirmed that the next EU-Canada summit will be held in Ottawa at the end of September. It is to be hoped that Harper, Barroso and Van Rompuy could put a pen on paper.
But on Monday, Baird said only that he hoped CETA would be signed “in a short period of time.” The date of the summit is also not set, but it is expected by the end of September, after Barroso`s participation in the UN General Assembly in New York. CETA has proven to be highly controversial, with the approach of similar but much larger trade agreements, one between the EU and the United States and the other between the United States, Canada, Japan and nine other Pacific countries. A recent EU document on CETA reinforced the intensity of questions raised at a European Parliament hearing on the agreement on 3 September. The objections raised by EU Member States ranged from trade to bilateral disputes, with Romania applying, for example, restrictions on Romanians entering Canada.