|Prime Minister Stephen Harper made the following remarks at a joint news conference with Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany|
Prime Minister Stephen Harper made the following remarks at a joint news conference with Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany:
“Madam Chancellor, I'd like to begin by wishing you a very warm welcome, on behalf of all Canadians.
“You have played host to me in Germany on several occasions, and we are delighted to be able to repay the favour.
“Madame Chancellor, you last visited Canada in 2010, you were at, of course, the G-8 in Huntsville and the G-20 in Toronto.
“But we are particularly pleased to welcome you here in the nation’s capital, on your first bilateral visit to Canada; the first such visit to Ottawa by a German Chancellor in a decade.
“Germany is, of course, a close ally, partner and friend of Canada.
“And to the ties of national interest may be added to those of family.
“Over 3 million Canadians trace their roots to Germany.
“I must say, Madam Chancellor, that over the years I have often had the opportunity to appreciate the wisdom and leadership you have brought to the G-8, the G-20 and other meetings of world leaders.
“You and I, Angela, joined these various international forums at almost exactly the same time, and I’ve always been impressed not only by the quality of your contributions, but also the respect that you command from everyone around the table.
“Our discussions last night, and today with our officials, have been frank and useful.
“Trade and investment between Canada and Germany is strong.
“Our countries are both firm advocates for the open markets that create jobs, growth and long-term prosperity for our citizens.
“However, there is room to expand our economic relationship, directly, and indirectly, through wider trade with Europe.
“That is why Canada remains determined to conclude a comprehensive economic and trade agreement with the European Union.
“Madam Chancellor, we thank you for your ongoing support for this historic agreement, which will give Canada access to over 500 million consumers who make up the largest market in the world.
We remain firmly committed to concluding a Canada – European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement.
“Your ongoing support has been vital to the great progress that has been made so far and I know we will continue to work together to achieve this important milestone; something, by the way, which will serve as a very encouraging sign to both our economies, and the wider global economy.
“I know that the global economy remains the top priority for both of us.
“Of course, we discussed the global economic situation and the ongoing efforts to restore stability in Europe.
“And let me just say this, that we in Canada appreciate your steadfast resolve in confronting these financial and economic challenges; and in finding solutions, and in particular we support your concern with not just finding any solution, but finding good and sustainable solutions to these problems.
“I also appreciated our exchange of views on international issues, in particular on the situation in Syria.
“Issues of international peace and security, particularly Syria, have also featured prominently in our discussions and again, this is an area where Germany, under you leadership, plays a vital and constructive role.
“Angela, Canada and Germany are certain friends in an uncertain world.
Your visit here is a testament to the strength of that relationship, a relationship that I personally, and Canadians generally, greatly value.
“Once again, I wish you a very warm welcome. Willkommen in Kanada!”
PMO Press Office 8/18/2012