Friday 22 September 2017

Charlie Flanagan: Canadian trade pact is an especially good deal for Ireland in the post-Brexit environment

Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission; Justin Trudeau, Canada’s prime minister; Donald Tusk, president of the European Union; and Robert Fico, Slovakia’s prime minister, signing the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) in Brussels on October 30. Photo: Bloomberg
Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission; Justin Trudeau, Canada’s prime minister; Donald Tusk, president of the European Union; and Robert Fico, Slovakia’s prime minister, signing the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) in Brussels on October 30. Photo: Bloomberg

Charlie Flanagan

The signing of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the European Union on October 30 was an historic moment for many reasons. Despite reservations or scepticism expressed by some quarters, CETA is good for Canada, good for Europe and particularly good for Ireland.

We in Europe have a relationship with Canada going back several centuries. Ireland's engagement with Canada traces its origins back to the 17th Century, when fishing vessels, especially from the south-east of Ireland, fished for cod off the Newfoundland coast.

Indeed, Newfoundland is unique in being the only place in the New World with a distinctive name in Irish: Talamh an Éisc, or "the Fishing Ground". During the recent economic crisis, 14,000 Irish citizens moved to Canada each year, to begin new lives, as so many had done before them. Today more than 4,500,000 Canadians claim Irish descent. As with Ireland, Europe's relationship with Canada is based on this kinship.

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