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D-CA: Delegation for relations with Canada

The Delegation for relations with Canada (D-CA) oversees the European Parliament's relations with Canada, one of EU's closest partners.

For more than 40 years, the delegation has held annual inter-parliamentary meetings with Canadian representatives. These meetings alternate between Brussels and venues in Canada, as a rule including Ottawa. At the conclusion of these meetings, delegates usually agree on a common statement. Few other delegations have maintained such a regular, productive dialogue.

Chair and membership

From 2014-2019, the D-CA delegation was chaired by Bernd Kölmel, a German member of the European Conservatives and Reformists Group (ECR) in the European Parliament. He was supported by two vice-chairs: Godelieve Quisthoudt-Rowohl (EPP, DE) and Paul Brannen (S&D, UK).

The delegation had 16 full members and 16 substitute members.

The chair and the vice-chair are elected by the members of the delegation. All the members are drawn from the European Parliament's political groups, with the political makeup of the delegation broadly reflecting that of Parliament as a whole.

Canadian counterparts

The Delegation's counterpart in the Parliament of Canada is the Canada-Europe Parliamentary Association (CAEU). Heading into the Canadian election on 21 October 2019, the President of the Executive Committee is Mr. Scott Simms, M.P. The Association is composed of 28 Senators and 78 Members of Parliament.

In addition, the European Parliament's D-CA delegation meets with Canada's provincial authorities. This manner of working reflects the division of competences in the country's political system and helps MEPs gain a better understanding of Canadian issues.

Political relations solidified by the SPA

The Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) signed by Canada and the EU on 30 October 2016 (and provisionally applied since 1 April 2017) advances bilateral foreign policy goals while providing a platform for joint international action.

The agreement reinforces cooperation in strategic areas, including international peace and security, human rights, environmental protection, research, innovation, energy security and education.

It also provides a new framework for deepening the political cooperation between the two sides. In particular, under Article 27(e), the promotion of exchanges of delegations from the European Parliament and the Parliament of Canada is foreseen.

Building on the Agreement, the 38th Inter-Parliamentary Meeting adopted a joint statement in which both Parliaments committed to strengthen the level of discourse between them, as a counterpart to other bodies set up under SPA, such as the Joint Cooperation Committee and the Joint Ministerial Committee. In order to transform the IPMs into an ongoing and uninterrupted dialogue, they agreed to additional (videoconference) meetings of delegations.

Trade and economic links underpinned by CETA

Trade and economic activity between the two partners will be boosted by the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).

Signed at the EU-Canada Summit in Brussels in October 2016, CETA goes beyond removing custom duties and contains ambitious chapters on sustainable development, labour and the environment.

It was approved by the European Parliament in February 2017 and has been applied provisionally since 21 September 2017.

CETA will take full effect once all the national parliaments of the EU Member States have also ratified the agreement, as the agreement was concluded as a "mixed EU agreement".

Recent meetings

The 39th meeting between Canadian and European parliamentarians took place in Ottawa on 7-11 May 2018, during which members discussed trade, migration and environment. To acquaint themselves better with a variety of issues across this huge and very diverse country, Members also travelled to British Columbia (BC).

The 40th EU-Canada Inter-Parliamentary Meeting took place on Thursday 14 March 2019 in Strasbourg. Talks focused on recent political developments in the EU and Canada (elections, migration, environment and climate change, Brexit) and trade.