Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau addressed the European Parliament in Strasbourg, marking the adoption by MEPs of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the European Union.
“Make no mistake about it, this is an important moment,” he said.
Trudeau said the whole world benefited from a strong European Union and that the bloc and his country needed to lead the international economy in challenging times.
With the passage of their trade deal, Canada and the European Union offer a counter to Trump, who has withdrawn from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and wants to rework the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Trudeau told the European Parliament that the Union was an unprecedented model for peaceful cooperation in a speech that marked his distance from both the United States under new President Donald Trump, who has questioned the value and future of the bloc, and from Britain, which has voted to leave it.
On Wednesday the European Parliament approved CETA, with 58 % of members voting to adopt the deal.
The final vote saw most of the members representing Europe’s centrist parties voting in favour, with opposition from members representing left-leaning socialist and Green as well as right-wing, nationalist parties.
Of the 695 members present in the 751-seat legislature, 408 voted in favour, 254 against and 33 abstained.
For Canada the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) is important to reduce its reliance on the neighbouring United States as an export market.
For the EU, it is a first trade pact with a G7 country and a success to hail after months of protests at a time when the bloc’s credibility has taken a beating from Britain’s vote last June to leave.
Trudeau will next travel to Berlin, where he will meet with German President Joachim Gauck and Chancellor Angela Merkel.