Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada is joining the European Union’s $100-billion scientific research program, called Horizon Europe.
Trudeau offered little detail about Canada’s participation in the pact this evening as he welcomed the top two heads of the EU to Newfoundland and Labrador’s capital city of St. John’s for the 19th EU-Canada Summit.
Trudeau also said during his opening speech that Canada has worked out a deal to build water bombers and ship them to the EU, after both regions faced devastating forest fires this past summer.
European Council President Charles Michel says the two-day summit comes at a difficult geopolitical time, as war continues in Ukraine and Israel and Hamas fight in the Gaza Strip.
He says the unrest underscores a need for Canada and the EU, two long-standing allies, to work together on issues from peace and security to fighting climate change.
Trudeau is expected to hold formal meetings on Friday with Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
Ottawa and Brussels started negotiations a year ago on Canada joining the Horizon Europe scheme, with the initial goal of signing an agreement this past spring that would be in place this calendar year.
The program has seen countries such as New Zealand and Israel sign up for research projects partially funded by the EU, involving themes like the digital industry, health care and climate innovation.
Entrepreneurs from the St. John’s area were part of the crowd that packed the small brew pub where Trudeau welcomed his European counterparts.
The prime minister acknowledged them as he made his announcement about Horizon Europe, which he called “the greatest research and innovation mechanism in the world right now.”
“This is about the research and the innovation is going to create a better future for all citizens,” Trudeau said.