Volume 11, No 3

February 3, 2020

Editors' introduction to the Special Issue: New opportunities for the EU-Canada Strategic Partnership


This issue is edited by MICHÈLE KNODT and NATALIA CHABAN

EU-Canada Strategic Partnership: Ups and downs


Signed in 1976, the EU-Canada relationship was the first bilateral agreement that the EU signed with an industrialised third country. Modest strengthening of the ties was achieved with the 2004 EU- Canada Partnership Agenda. A fully-fledged free trade agreement was in the works at this time, but suspended in 2006. The EU-Canada strategic partnership agreement (SPA) and the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) did not materialise until more than a decade later, in 2016. This paper focuses in particular on the strategic partnership dimension. It explores why an SPA was possible in 2016, but not before. To answer this question, the paper looks at four time periods. In so doing it explores the origins of the EU-Canada agreement, how the EU-Canada relationship changed over time, and examines how a more profound strategic partnership came about when it did. In its analysis it considers institutional, domestic and geopolitical factors. It briefly speculates about the possible future of this partnership.

Article Keywords: Canada, EU, EU-Canada strategic partnership agreement, Transatlantic Relations

EU-Canada's strategic partnership: broadening relations and mutual interests


The strengthening of EU-Canada relations in the last years has revealed mutual interests in several policy fields. In times of increasingly tense relations with the US and weakening multilateralism, deepened and broadened bilateral cooperation is of particular importance for both, Canada and the EU. In order to better understand mutual interests and similar challenges, this article explores cooperation in the two different policy fields of foreign and security policy and climate change policy. This analysis of the current situation in international security and climate change policy points out key areas in which closer EU-Canada cooperation could be brought to bear fruits not only for their bilateral relationship but also the alliance for multilateralism in the short run and for years to come.

Article Keywords: Canada, EU, Security, Climate, multilateralism

Perceptions, expectations, motivations: Evolution of Canadian views on the EU


This article proposes a conceptual model that factors external and internal drivers behind external perceptions in IR and allows to trace their interaction across geographical distances argued by social identity theory (Moles and Rohmer, 1978) and evolution across historical distances defined by historical geography (Braudel, 1989). This article used the case of Canada?s perceptions of the EU to demonstrate the model in action and trace the ‘mental mapping? (Didelon-Loiseau and Grasland, 2014) of the EU?s images through the perceptions of EU-Canada relation over time. Informed by the tripartite paradigm of the influential factors behind external perceptions of the EU: endogenous, exogenous and global (Tsuruoka, 2006; Chaban and Magdalina, 2014), the article offers a model that goes beyond this logic in an innovative way. It considers a geo-temporal matrix of vantage points that shape perceptions. To demonstrate the model in action, this article reviews existing research on perceptions of the EU in Canada focusing on the key works and their findings in this field over the last decade.

Article Keywords: the EU, Canada, EU-Canada relations, evolution of perceptions, geo-temporal matrix of perceptions

Middle-power internationalism in-between European ‘paradise’ and American ‘power’? Canada’s political role in an age of Trumpism and Brexit


Hyper forms of globalization have contributed to the diffusion and de-institutionalization of state power (Chin and Mittelman, 1997) and to growing populism, nationalism, and authoritarianism in Europe that have questioned the liberal international order?s effectiveness, legitimacy and authority. What has come under threat is not only the order itself, but the economic prosperity, security, peace, and normative foundations that has nurtured it. In this context of a emerging world order we examine what function so-called middle powers on both sides of the Atlantic could play?

While often overseen in recent years, middle powers are important units of analysis to study because during the times of the ‘old? order in the aftermath of WWII they had benefitted most of the stable liberal international order, and as a result they have the most to lose today in case that order changes dramatically or even disappears. In looking back at middle power?s presence at creation of the liberal international world order in the aftermath of WWII, we suggest, helps us to comprehend what function middle powers could play in this current wave of changing transatlantic orders. Especially their intra-alliance bridgebuilding function is important in this regard that in the past helped to balance the interests of the major powers. Canada is discussed as a case study.

Article Keywords: Middle Powers; globalization; liberal internationalism; new world order; transatlantic relationship

New opportunities in common security and defence policy: Joining PESCO


Responding to concerns about burden-sharing and aiming to improve internal defence cooperation, act more quickly and harness resource synergies, the European Union (EU) initiated the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) in 2017. PESCO, however, is controversial. On the one hand, the United States (US) wants greater burden-sharing by European allies whilst concerned about greater European military autarky that would undermine US influence over NATO, Europe/EU and EU member states. On the other hand, at least one European NATO ally wants to leverage PESCO precisely as an instrument to shore up European “strategic autonomy”. This tension over competing European defence futures leaves participation by third countries in limbo. Arguably, third-country participation would hinder greater European defence autarky. The article makes the case for the mutual benefits of third-country participation, focusing on Canada. Canada has a major stake in the outcome. NATO is Canada?s most important multilateral institution and Europe is Canada?s second- most important strategic partner, after the US. Canada?s unequivocal strategic interests in Europe have long informed its expeditionary priorities — from the two world wars, when Canada coming to Europe?s defence long before the US proved existential for both parties, to nowadays. Since the 1970s, Canada and Europe have worked consistently together bilaterally beyond NATO to advance regional stability and mutual security interests. Canada?s and Europe?s defence futures are thus interdependent. Excluding third countries from participating in PESCO would have detrimental consequences for Canadian, European and transatlantic defence interests. In contrast, with third country participation, PESCO will be instrumental to effective transatlantic and transeuropean defence integration.

Article Keywords: Canada, Defence, European Union, NATO, PESCO

Sharp power in social media: Patterns from datasets across electoral campaigns


Using Christopher Walker’s and Jessica Ludwig’s ‘sharp power’ theoretical framework, and based on some preliminary findings from the May 2019 European Parliament election and the two 2019 rounds of elections in Israel, this article describes a novel method for the automatic detection of political trolls and bots active in Twitter in the October 2019 federal election in Canada. The research identified thousands of accounts invested in Canadian politics that presented a unique activity pattern, significantly different from accounts in a control group. The large-scale cross-cross-sectional approach enabled a distinctive perspective on foreign political meddling in Twitter during the recent federal election campaign. This foreign political meddling, we argue, aims at manipulating and poisoning the democratic process and can challenge democracies and their values, as well as their societal resilience.

Article Keywords: Canada, sharp power, machine learning, Twitter, social networks, political trolls, bots, foreign political meddling

Threats to multilateralism and the future of the EU-Canada Strategic Partnership: A view from Canada


Current threats to the international multilateral order affect the EU and Canada to a fundamental degree. While this is an observation that transpires in most contributions to this special issue, this conclusion adds to the reflection by making three observations that we should bear in mind when trying to reflect on the future of the EU-Canada strategic partnership: first, the partnership will depend on the ability of both parties to build on the latter?s recent institutionalization; second, it remains to be seen whether the US? retreat from multilateralism will prove surmountable for EU and Canada; and third, the partnership will only acquire true meaning if the EU and Canada succeed in working together on a series of crucial issues that require a multilateral effort – such as the environment and hybrid threats.