CETA remains sensitive topic during amicable meeting between Rutte and Trudeau
On Friday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stopped by for a one-day visit with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte in The Hague.
Besides climate change, human rights and the pandemic, the two prime ministers also discussed the delicate topic of CETA, the free trade agreement between Canada and the EU. Despite a narrow majority vote from the Tweede Kamer, a majority of the Eerste Kamer has yet to confirm the deal.
"If you do not agree with a free trade agreement with a progressive, climate-oriented country like Canada, maybe you're not really a proponent of free trade after all," Trudeau said.
Opponents of CETA fear that the agreement will lead to a drop in working conditions, animal welfare and food safety.
Rutte said he hoped to continue working together in the future. "We set a goal to meet every two years as government leaders to support each other. This is the next step in the strong relationship between our countries," Rutte said.
Together Rutte and Trudeau later held an informal discussion with students at the Leiden University Campus. Students asked questions, such as how the two countries plan to live up to the agreements made in the Paris Climate Agreement."We are often of the same mind; let's how this goes here," Rutte joked.
Rutte stated that they will also need the help of the private sector to reach their goals.
The prime ministers finished their day with a dinner in the restaurant Pastis in The Hague. "Thanks for the hospitality, Mark. May our friendship and the friendship between our two countries strengthen in the years ahead," Trudeau tweeted.
Both politicians will take part in the G20 summit in Rome on Saturday. The world leader will discuss climate change, economic recovery and the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
On Sunday, the leaders will head to the UN climate conference COP26 in Glasgow.
The Dutch Minister has to return soon to the Netherlands for the Tuesday press conference, during which he will announce possible new coronavirus measures.