Dear Prime Minister,
A very warm welcome to the Berlaymont, to the European Commission. It is a pleasure to have you here. And I must really say that, since the beginning of Putin’s atrocious and cruel war, we see that the transatlantic community has been standing very strong, very united and very determined. And I think that this is a great asset in our efforts to support our Ukrainian friends as much as we can. But it also revealed a spectacular failure of Putin’s plans to divide us. This unity is so strong thanks to our unbreakable bonds, grounded in our history, our shared values, and, of course, our steadfast commitment to a rules-based global order. The European Union and Canada will continue to deepen their cooperation, and work in support of the brave people of Ukraine.
I want to emphasise three points. The first is that we are stepping up our humanitarian support, inside and outside Ukraine. In particular, I am very glad to hear that you are looking into it, and I am inviting you to channel in-kind support, if possible, to Ukraine via the EU Civil Protection Mechanism hubs. They are in Poland, in Romania and in Slovakia. And of course, we will also continue to support those who have been forced to flee Ukraine through our complementary resettlement efforts, if they wish so, and our assistance to neighbouring countries.
My second point is on sanctions. We now had four waves of unprecedented sanctions that we have taken together. And these sanctions have taken a heavy toll on Russia’s economy and its ability to wage war. Now, together with our G7 partners, we will make sure to keep the pressure high on the Kremlin, with strict enforcement and by tackling evasion and circumvention. For that, we are establishing a dedicated G7 working group to share information among us, to coordinate responses and to make sure that there is no sanctions evasion.
We also know that the brutal military violence of Putin’s war is flanked by attacks of a hybrid nature – in particular in the cyber space. Therefore, to counter this, the European Union and Canada will step up cooperation on cybersecurity and we will support the governments of Ukraine and Moldova on cyber defence and internet access.
My third topic is energy. Russia is not only threatening our security architecture in the military sense. But it is clear that our dependency, of the European Union, on Russian fossil fuels also puts Europe’s energy security in danger. We have to get rid of our dependency on Russian fossil fuels. As a response, the European Union and Canada will take our strategic energy cooperation to the next level. Commissioner Simson and Minister Wilkinson will meet already this week to further discuss potential Canadian energy supply to Europe. Then, the work will be followed-up in a dedicated working group. This cooperation with Canada will be part of our REPowerEU plan. As you know, the first aim is to massively invest in renewables because this is a strategic investment in our energy independence and security. But secondly to diversify away from Russian gas towards other suppliers that are trustworthy and reliable, like, for example, Canada.
And the good part is that Canada shares on top the dedication to fight climate change and to decarbonise our economies. So we both know that the transition to clean energy is the key to phasing out our dependency on fossil fuels more generally. We are both committed to speeding up the transition to net-zero. And in this context, we will also pursue our partnership on raw materials, which is instrumental to achieving the transition to climate-neutral economies.
Let me finish with one of the most urgent issues – and this is food security. We all know how important Ukraine and Russia are for the global food trade. Many countries in the European neighbourhood and across the globe depend to a large extent on their exports from Ukraine, in particular of wheat. I think that 50% of the World Food Programme’s wheat supply is coming from Ukraine. Therefore, the Russian aggression to block Ukrainian exports through the Black Sea is seriously endangering global food security. And this is completely immoral. The European Union and Canada will work together to ensure the provision of direct food aid, and to ramp up the supply of agricultural products more generally.
So dear Justin, we have a lot in common, we are friends and partners. We share the same values and the same goals. And through this work, the bond between us will be even stronger.
Alors voilà, cher Justin, un agenda bien chargé pour notre discussion et pour notre coopération à venir. Les temps historiques que nous vivons l’exigent. Et c’est aussi l’occasion de réaffirmer la force de notre amitié et des liens qui nous unissent. Soit le bienvenu ici au Berlaymont.