2016 ECSA-C BIENNIAL CONFERENCE

MAY 9-11, 2016

 

THE EUROPEAN UNION AND NORTH AMERICA: AN INEVITABLE PARTNERSHIP?

The 2016 11th Biennal Conference was hosted by Dalhousie University, in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

KEYNOTE SPEAKER 1 : Jeremy Kinsman

Former Canadian Ambassador to the EU. Mr. Kinsman spoke on Canada-EU relations: The first half-century.

 

Jeremy Kinsman gave a candid, animated talk that traced the ebbs and flows of Canada’s partnership with Europe. The early post-war decades were markedby Canada’s complex relationships with France and Britain, and by an inward-focused program of Canadian economic nation-building.Nevertheless, the 1976 framework on cooperation with Canada marked the European Community’s first external political agreement, launching an exchange that grew throughout the 1980s and 90s. Canada and the EU became critical partners in the project of integration and the uniting of post-Cold War Europe, and our shared world view made us effective leaders on the establishment of the International Criminal Court, the ban on land mines and the Responsibility to Protect doctrine. While the last 10 years have seen a lapse in the relationship, new leadership may mean greater Canadian openness and engagement with Europe.Audience members responded with questions on the theme of change in Europe and what it might mean for Canada’s partnership with the EU. Economic and political strains placed on the Union, the ongoing transition of Central and Eastern European member countries, and the rise of extremism all pose serious challenges, but Ambassador Kinsman’s perspective on these questions was generally hopeful. The EU may be focused inward in the coming years as it addresses internal challenges, however the long-term prospect for consensus, compromise, and growing partnerships is both positive and inevitable.One question asked was how attendees can help build the case for Canada-EU integration: the Ambassador highlighted an important role for educators in fostering globalized identities and attitudes already present amongst undergraduate students today.

KEYNOTE SPEAKER 2 : Michelle Egan

Woodrow Wilson Scholar, Professor and Jean Monnet Chair ad Personam in School of International Service, American University, Washington, D.C.
Dr. Egan spoke on From Single Markets to Transatlantic Markets: Lessons from the US and EU.

 

Michelle Egan explored the striking parallels—and important differences—between the struggle to unite the American states in the 19th century and the current process of European integration. Drawing on the field of American Political Development, Professor Egan described the process by which the plural identities of the American states came together in the aftermath of war to establish a single market and a set federal competencies despite resistance andcontestation.The analogy, she noted, is not a direct one: the US and Europe faced different stages of economic development at the time of integration. Nevertheless, a comparative approach might allow scholars to better understand what drives (or hinders) integration. Globalization and business pressures, integration through legal precedent, the shifting role of the state and distributive politics all played a role in both jurisdictions. The parallels also extend to Europe’s current challenges: Professor Egan spoke about how the young American federation confronted immigration, backlash and tensions of democratic legitimacy. While we take the cohesiveness of the USA for granted today, it remains a disaggregated, asymmetrical federation, suggesting that European integration too will remain incomplete and will bear the marks of the political processes that shaped it. In response to audience questions, Professor Egan also touched on parallels with the current debt crisis and the pressures that drove states to integrate in the 19th century; argued that path of dependency and disaggregation will have a strong impact on the ability of the US to pursue ambitious trade agreements; and spoke about how the US grappled with the trade-off between democracy and efficiency on the way to economic integratioN.

PANEL DISCUSSION

40 years and Counting: The Role of the EU Delegation in Canada

Manfred Auster, Minister-Counsellor and the Head of the Political and Public
Affairs Section at the Delegation of the European Union to Canada in Ottawa.


Discussants:
Geoffrey Harris, EU Parliament Liaison Office with the US Congress
Jeremy Kinsman, Former Canadian Ambassador to the EU
Discussion Chair, Frédéric Mérand, University of Montreal

SUMMARY OF DISCUSSION

Summary of lunchtime talk featuring Manfred Auster: “40 years and Counting: The Role of the EU Delegation in Canada”

Moderator: Frédéric Mérand

Discussants: Geoffrey Harris, Jeremy Kinsman

 

Minister-Counselor Auster began his lunchtime address to the delegates of the 2016 ESCA-C Biennial Conference by bearing greeting from Marie-Anne Coninsx, Ambassador of the European Union to Canada. His talk examined the development of EU-Canada relationssince the signing of the initial framework agreement in 1976. The remarks began with a comparison of the Canadian, European, and global political-economic climates of 2016 with those of 1976: realities then included the Cold War and energy insecurity. Henry Kissinger was President Gerald Ford’s Secretary of State, and the EU had nine members. Today, the EU has twenty-eight members; political challenges there and elsewhere include the migrant crisis, continued sluggish economic growth, and the energy route.Against this backdrop, Minister-Counselor Auster painted a vivid picture of gradual evolution of EU-Canada relations through leadership changes on both sides of the Atlantic. Minister-Counselor Auster’s comments were followed by a lively discussion. Thedebate was begun by Frédéric Mérand, who asked, “do you see any untapped opportunities to build and entrench the Canada-EU partnership, and to make it into a more comprehensive and more meaningful partnership?” The consensus on the panel was that the way forward on this front was to build more informal linkages, and to capitalize on the “symmetry of feeling about the world” found in Canada and the EU; “when you have an issue [...] you call people not whom you have a strategic partnership with, but whom you want to talk to.”The discussion also touched on the Obama administration’s response to the threat of “Brexit”, and what investment Canadians should have in the future of Britain’s relationship with the EU. The session concluded with a period for open questions. Amongst other topics, the discussants continued to grapple with the future of theCanada-EU relationship and its relationship to the threat of British secession. Questions turned on the nature of the Canada-France and Canada-UK relationships, the potential for powerful positive externalities to be generated by the departure of the United Kingdom, and threat of Brexit to the intra-regional balance of power. In spite of this, the roundtable ended on a hopeful note, with the panelists —and audience —agreeing that Brexit was an extremely unlikely event and that the best days of the Canada-EU relationship were yet to come.

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The European Community Studies Association - Canada (Association d'Etudes sur la Communauté Européenne - Canada) is the leading professional association for European integration studies in Canada.

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Erasmus+ Programme

of the European Union

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