On January 24, during the New Year's reception of the Québec Government Office in Brussels, Artis Pabriks, Member of the European Parliament, received the 50th anniversary medal of the Ministère des Relations internationales et de la Francophonie.
The Québec government has awarded this medal to eminent figures who have made a positive contribution to promoting Québec’s interests over the years. In Brussels, Pierre Arcand, Québec Minister responsible for Government Administration and Ongoing Program Review as well as Chair of the Conseil du trésor, presented the medal to Mr. Pabriks as a token of appreciation for his active and extremely beneficial role in the process of concluding the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the European Union.
When presenting the medal, Mr. Arcand explained that "as a European Parliament rapporteur for the CETA in recent years, Mr. Pabriks not only demonstrated patience, but also an impressive ability to provide precise facts and lead lively debates. We had the pleasure of welcoming him to Montreal in 2016, as part of the European Parliament's International Trade Committee mission in Québec. Mr. Pabriks' invaluable support throughout the CETA negotiation process was very appreciated.”
When receiving the medal, Mr. Pabriks pointed out the importance of cooperation between the European Union and Canada: “I am honoured by this show of appreciation. The CETA is more than just a trade agreement. It symbolizes cooperation between two equal partners that share the same values. Based on this relationship of trust, we can make our common interests a priority, just like in the case of the CETA. I am pleased that Latvia was the first Member State of the European Union to ratify this agreement.”
The CETA was adopted by the European Union in February 2017 and came into force on September 21, 2017. This agreement reduces bureaucratic red tape and helps create trade relations between the European Union and Canada by reducing obstacles to investment, the exchange of services and the flow of goods. The CETA makes it possible for European companies to improve their positions in the Canadian market and vice versa; it creates new opportunities in areas such as telecommunications, energy and maritime transportation, and provides access to the public-sector market.