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[WATCH] Trudeau hails EU-Canada deal ‘an unprecedented model for peaceful cooperation’

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has hailed the EU-Canada deal that was approved yesterday, saying Canada and the EU shared a belief in democracy, transparency and the rule of law

16 February 2017, 1:13pm
Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (L) arrives with European Parliament President Antonio Tajani to address the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France
Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (L) arrives with European Parliament President Antonio Tajani to address the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday has hailed a landmark trade deal with the European Union, in an address to the EU parliament one day after the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) was formally approved.

Trudeau told the European Parliament that the Union was an unprecedented model for peaceful cooperation in a speech that marked his distance from both the United States under new President Donald Trump, who has questioned the value and future of the bloc, and from Britain, which has voted to leave it.

An effective European voice on the global stage was not just preferable, but essential, Trudeau said.

"You are a vital player in addressing the challenges that we collectively face as an international community," he told EU lawmakers. "Indeed the whole world benefits from a strong EU."

Trudeau said that Canada and the European Union shared a belief in democracy, transparency and the rule of law, in human rights, inclusion and diversity, adding that the bloc and his country needed to lead the international economy in challenging times.

"We know that, in these times, we must choose to lead the international economy, not simply be subject to its whims," he said, according to a text made available in advance of his speech.

For Canada, CETA is important to reduce its reliance on the neighbouring United States as an export market, while for the EU, it is a first trade pact with a G7 country and a success to hail after months of protests at a time when the bloc's credibility has taken a beating from Britain's vote last June to leave.

Critics of the deal fear that it gives too much power to multinationals and hope that it will be blocked by national and regional parliaments in the EU.

Trudeau said that the deal would create jobs and boost the middle class on both sides of the Atlantic. He said that "trade that is free and fair means that we can make the lives of our citizens more affordable."

"If we are successful, CETA will become the blueprint for all ambitious, future trade deals. If we are not, this could very well be the last. So make no mistake, this is an important moment for us."