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Cablegate: Canada: The Canada-Eu Summit

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

242045Z Jun 05



E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (U) Robert Clark, Director of the EU Division at Foreign
Affairs Canada (FAC), provided a debrief on the results of
the June 19 Canada-EU summit, held in Niagara-on-the-Lake, a
resort town in southern Ontario. Clark characterized the
one-day summit as extremely successful, with the GoC pleased
that the EU leadership was fully engaged in the discussions,
given that the summit came in the immediate wake of the UK's
rejection of a compromise EU budget agreement and the
referendum defeats of the proposed EU constitution in France
and the Netherlands. As Clark put it, the EU was at the
conference table, not only in body, but in spirit. He also
related a remark made by European Commission President Jose
Barroso at the conclusion of the summit, when Barroso said
that recent events in Europe meant that the EU might have the
flu, but that it didn't mean that it had cancer.

2. (SBU) Clark cited the conclusion of negotiations on two
security issues -- exchanging airline passenger records on a
real-time basis as flights are en route the Atlantic, and
establishing a framework to facilitate Canada's participation
in future EU-led crisis management operations -- as the major
accomplishments of the summit. Both agreements require
ratification before taking effect; Clark stated that these
items were executive decisions which did not require
legislative approval, and he anticipated that the Cabinet
would approve them within the next couple of months. Clark
also mentioned favorably discussions on preventing over
fishing in the North Atlantic, underscoring that the GoC has
seen an improvement in the compliance of foreign fishing
vessels (Spain and Portugal in particular) operating in
international waters.

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3. (SBU) One surprise of the summit, according to Clark,
was the amount of time that Prime Minister Paul Martin
devoted to the discussion on combating pandemics, with Martin
reviewing Canada's experience in confronting the SARS
outbreak in 2003. Canada and the EU agreed that it was
critical to engage the USG on this issue, and to build an
international coalition that would include China among the
participating countries. Martin suggested that this could be
a topic for consideration at the UN millennium 5 summit in

4. (SBU) Clark also noted that the issue of Overseas
Development Assistance (ODA) was raised during the press
conference following the summit. Luxembourg Prime Minister
(and current EU Council President) Jean-Claude Juncker
suggested that perhaps the OECD definition of what
constitutes foreign aid should be revised to more broadly
include security assistance, commenting that under current
guidelines, much of Canada's assistance to Darfur is not
counted as ODA. (Note: A senior official at Finance Canada
mused to us earlier this year in the context of US military
participation in Tsunami relief that perhaps there should be
an effort in the DAC to redefine humanitarian aid to include
a military component. End note.) Clark said that the
Canadian delegation found it somewhat surprising that Juncker
would take such a position, given that several EU states had
either already achieved the 0.7 percent standard, or had
timelines to do so by 2015. (Comment: In advance of next
month's G-8 summit, the issue of Canada's current ODA, and
Prime Minister Martin's refusal to set a timeline for
achieving 0.7 percent, has received extensive press coverage.
In response, Finance Minister Ralph Goodale noted
unfavorably that some EU countries were implementing taxes on
airline tickets or backloading their commitments onto the
last years of the pledge before 2015, and confirmed that
Canada, despite a commitment to increase ODA by at least 8
percent a year with a target of 0.7 percent of GDP, would
not take fiscally imprudent measures to increase its ODA.
End comment.)

5. (SBU) The EU mission in Ottawa was pleasantly surprised
by the press coverage of the summit, despite the fact that it
took place on a Sunday in a remote location. They attribute
the interest to the contentious meeting in Brussels
immediately prior to the Canada-EU summit and to the two "no"
votes regarding the constitution. They contend that the lack
of accord in Brussels did not spill over into the Canada-EU
relationship, but that much of the initiative was from the
Canadian side. They note that although no Canada-EU disputes
were reported, they did not see eye-to-eye on some issues,
such as ODA levels.

6. (SBU) According to Clark, the next Canada-EU summit is
tentatively scheduled for November, and would likely be held
in the UK, given that London is taking over the six-month EU
presidency From Luxembourg.

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