World benefits from strong EU, says Canada PM
By Eszter Zalan
Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau has told the European Parliament that "the whole world benefits from a strong European Union", in an attempt to comfort Europeans disheartened by Brexit and the election of Donald Trump in the US
Trudeau was addressing MEPs on Thursday (16 February), a day after they approved a controversial EU-Canada free trade deal, Ceta.
He called the EU "an unprecedented model for peaceful cooperation", adding that "the whole world benefits from a strong EU".
"An effective European voice isn’t just preferable, but essential," Trudeau insisted.
His comments were in stark contrast to the messages coming from US president Donald Trump, who supported Brexit and is providing inspiration for a number of eurosceptic parties around the bloc.
Trudeau, the first Canadian leader to speak in the European Parliament, was given a rockstar welcome, with MEPs snapping his picture throughout the speech.
The prime minister was happy to talk about the trade deal, but said less about issues like migration, Nato's future and the change in translatlantic relations since Trump's election.
"People will support trade deals if it creates jobs and makes their lives more affordable, and I fully intend to make sure we deliver," he said, adding that Ceta could be a blueprint for future trade deals.
He promised however that the best was yet to come in EU-Canada relations.
He said the EU and Canada stood side by side in "maintaining global security, advancing the values of peace and justice", creating jobs, tackling climate change and defending women's rights.
Some MEPs complained that group leaders were not allowed to speak up after Trudeau. Earlier in the week, Green leader Philippe Lamberts has accused Trudeau of not wanting to be confronted with criticism over Ceta in the assembly.