Formal EU-Canada relations were given structure by the 1976 Framework Agreement for Commercial and Economic Cooperation. They have been further extended and enhanced by the 1990 Declaration on EC-Canada relations, the 1996 Joint Political Declaration and the 1996 Joint Action Plan, and more recently by the 2004 EU-Canada Partnership Agenda.
Over the past few years, the EU and Canada have deepened their relationship on a wide range of issues. As the European Security Strategy (LINK 6) states, Canada is a strategic partner for the EU. The yearly summits, have typically, focused on three areas of cooperation: foreign policy and international security, climate change and energy and economic issues.
With regard to international security, the EU and Canada work closely together in Afghanistan. Canada participates in the EU Police Mission in Afghanistan. The EU and Canada also cooperate on other areas such as the Middle East, the Balkans and Africa. The EU and Canada have a shared interest in support for multilateralism, international law and human rights. Canada has also participated in several EU election observation missions.
European and Canadian representatives meet regularly on different levels to exchange views. At the highest political level, one summit takes place each year, alternating between Canada and the Presidency's capital. The EU is represented by the Presidency, the General Secretariat of the Council and the Commission. General issues regarding EU-Canada relations are mainly dealt with in the Transatlantic Relations Working Party (COTRA), which covers all three EU pillars and has an overview of all areas of work. In practice, this means that the Presidency, assisted by the Council Secretariat, works with the Commission, ensuring the coordination with other working groups that provide the technical expertise.