On his way home from the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos and Paris, where he was decorated with the insignia of the Legion of Honour, the Premier of Québec, Jean Charest, stopped in Brussels on February 4 and 5.
During a luncheon conference organized by the Délégation générale du Québec à Bruxelles (Québec government office in Brussels) in collaboration with the Chamber of Commerce Canada-Belgium-Luxembourg, Premier Charest gave an address during which he spoke about to the measures taken by his government to deal with the impact of the global economic crisis, as well as the strategy of creating a new economic space for Québec. He gave the luncheon participants an update on a project that is dear to his heart, that of building an economic partnership between Canada and the European Union. Confident that formal negotiations can get under way during the next Canada-EU summit, the Premier encouraged people to resist the protectionist temptation inspired by the economic crisis.
Premier Charest began his day with a meeting with Kris Peeters, Minister-President of Flanders, followed by a conversation with Catherine Ashton, European Commissioner for Trade. He then spoke with Belgian Prime Minister Herman Van Rompuy, and ended the morning with a meeting with José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission. The Premier was pleased to note President Barroso’s interest in the idea of a Canada-EU partnership, which will help reinforce transatlantic collaboration.