Statement of the Council of the Federation* -- Support for the negotiation of a new and comprehensive economic agreement with the European Union

    OTTAWA, feb. 20 /CNW Telbec/ - At their summer meeting in Quebec City,
Canada's Premiers urged that negotiations commence between Canada and the
European Union on the development of a new and modern economic partnership to
improve the economic well-being of our respective societies. They also held a
conference call, February 11 2009, to update on the project, following recent
discussions between Québec's Premier, Mr. Jean Charest, and the president of
the European Commission, Mr. José Manuel Barroso.
    In recent months, the federal government has been working with the
European Union on a joint document which would describe the opportunities for
enhanced trade and investment between the European Union and Canada and
identifies numerous potential areas of discussions for a possible deepened
economic agreement. The federal government has been consulting provinces and
territories throughout the development of this document which highlights that
several of the issues that will be discussed in these negotiations fall within
the exclusive or shared jurisdiction of provinces and territories.
    Accordingly, the involvement of provinces and territories is necessary
for the successful conclusion of negotiations and subsequent implementation of
an agreement. As such, Premiers are pleased the federal government has
committed to a process that enables all provinces and territories to
participate directly in the negotiations. Consequently, after a final
agreement, provinces and territories will take the necessary measures to
ensure the implementation of any commitments they, as individual provinces and
territories, undertake through the negotiation process.
    More than ever, Premiers intend to actively contribute to the discussions
and are prepared to work together with the government of Canada, throughout
the negotiations, on the basis of a partnership respectful of their respective
jurisdictions and responsibilities. They look forward to the results of the
coming discussions with the European Union and underscored the importance of
maintaining current and opening new markets in a period of economic

    (*) The members of the Council of the Federation supporting this
    Statement are: Québec, Ontario, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Manitoba,
    British Columbia, Prince Edward Island, Saskatchewan, Alberta, Northwest
    Territories, Yukon and Nunavut. The views of Newfoundland and Labrador
    are expressed in a separate communiqué they have issued.

For further information:

For further information: Hugo D'Amours, Press Secretary, Office of the
Premier of Québec, (418) 643-5321,; Loretta
O'Connor, Executive Director, Council of the Federation Secretariat, (613)

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