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CSPS Virtual Café Series: Europe Today (TRN5-V11)


This event recording features a conversation with Ailish Campbell, Stefanie Beck and Michelle d'Auray on the economic, security and societal forces shaping current events in the European Union (EU).

Duration: 01:02:03
Published: February 1, 2022
Type: Video

Event: CSPS Virtual Café Series: Europe Today

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CSPS Virtual Café Series: Europe Today

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Transcript: CSPS Virtual Café Series: Europe Today

[The animated white Canada School of Public Service logo appears on a purple background. Its pages turn, opening it like a book. A maple leaf appears in the middle of the book that also resembles a flag with curvy lines beneath. Text is beside it reads: "Webcast | Webdiffusion." It fades away to a video chat panel. It's a close up on a woman with short, quaffed silver hair, and red glasses. She wears earbuds.]

Michelle d'Auray: Hello and welcome to the Virtual Café series of the Canada School of Public Service. My name is Michelle d'Auray, and I will be your moderator today.

[A purple title card pops up in the bottom corner, identifying her as Michelle d'Auray, Former Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Canada to the OECD. The graphic slides away.]

This is a series that aims to introduce to the public service some very distinguished speakers, both from inside and outside public service. Today, we have the pleasure of talking about a very small topic called "Europe today." And I was going to say the UK and Europe today, because we're now dealing with a different configuration.

I'm happy to tell you that simultaneous interpretation is available for today's session, and we can also converse with our two panelists in both official languages. And so we have the pleasure today of having two wonderful speakers, Ailish Campbell,

[A video panel with a blond woman wearing a snake-print shirt slides in. She sits in front of a large, abstract landscape painting with patchwork colours.]

Michelle d'Auray: who is our ambassador to the European Union, and Stefanie Beck, who is the Deputy High Commissioner to the United Kingdom.

[Ailish's panel switches out for Stefanie, a tan woman with dark blond hair, sitting in closeup. That panel slides away and Michelle's fills the screen.]

Michelle d'Auray: And the topic today is kind of an interesting one, because all countries are coming out of the pandemic. The European Union is coming out of the Brexit environment on top of the pandemic, the UK is as well. And we're all facing some interesting developments with the Biden administration, so how do we handle the new relationship with the United States? China is a major player that we're seeing more and more of. And in Europe and everywhere else in the world, Russia remains a bit of an interesting player. And finally, the big player in all of this is climate change, so while we have the pandemic, we have the West, we have China, Russia; but the climate change issue is also prevalent.

I had the pleasure of understanding a bit about Europe when I was the ambassador and permanent representative of Canada to the OECD, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. And I saw there the dynamic of the bloc of the European Union, as well as how the individual countries were able to manifest themselves, and there are always a few inherent tensions within the European bloc, but there are also some really important elements for Canada. It is a group of countries of 440 million. The UK is close to 70 million, the Union is our second largest trading partner, and within that, the UK was our biggest trading partner.

[Ailish and Stefanie's panels join the screen on the left-hand side.]

Michelle d'Auray:  So, I'm now going to turn to our two presenters today to give a bit of background on themselves and what they're up to and how they see Europe today, a small topic, and the UK debate. So Ailish, over to you.

Ailish Campbell: Thank you, Michelle. I'm very happy to be here with you today, and I'd like to say a big hello to the entire team in Ottawa and across Canada.

[00:03:40 Ailish's panel fills the screen. A purple title card pops in to the corner, identifying her as Ailish Campbell, Ambassador of Canada to the European Union. It lingers a moment and slides back off screen.]

Ailish Campbell: I thought I would begin with just a short introduction perhaps to the EU and five key points, and I'm really looking forward to our discussion today. The EU is composed, as Michelle was describing, of a good number of now continental member states since the recent just completed exit of the UK, which Deputy High Commissioner Beck will discuss. It's 27 members, it's a group of countries that first began around a nucleus of coal and steel community in the 1950s. It's extended over time to include a common agricultural policy, a common position on trade, and now a more increasingly layered relationship that for some of the 27 members, includes a common currency. Certainly the existence of the single market that we've discussed, as well as collaboration on a whole host of issues, including science and technology, data, and I think also as Michelle has really importantly pointed out, on environment.

Some of the things that the EU 27 members which now extend, imagine all the way from Portugal and Spain, we've got Italy and Greece in the south, all the way, of course, to Romania, Bulgaria, Poland, Sweden and the Nordics, with the exception of course Norway is not in the EU, is perhaps the easier way to describe it, Switzerland is not in the EU. Things that are still held at the member state level include, very importantly for Canada, related to border policy, there's an internal common understanding that citizens can move freely inside the Schengen parts of the European Union, but of course, member states retain policies over border, over immigration and over key aspects of health care. And that's obviously been a live issue this year during the pandemic.

The five areas quickly I want to touch upon, first of all, are common values and common importance of the rule of law domestically and our shared emphasis on democratic institutions, both internally ensuring those up, defending. Not just promoting democracy, but defending democracy from disinformation. Don't forget, it's a complex neighbourhood here, bordering of course, with Russia, who has had active as is publicly known, active disinformation against vaccines, including those that have been approved by the European Medical Agency and of course, our NATO relationship, incredibly important, the second piece I want to talk about, security. So, the EU is an increasing partner on its own independent defence policy, but at the same time Canada is a full member, and it's my colleague Ambassador David Angell, who's our ambassador to NATO. Thirdly, the environment, which on climate change, climate action as we lead to both COP15 on biodiversity and COP26 on climate change. Canada is incredibly active with, and has a unique relationship with the EU, we both have a price on carbon, we're both actively looking at carbon border adjustment measures, we're both trying to increase climate ambition around the world, and we have a ministerial collaboration between ourselves, China and the EU, which was occurring, I think, at a difficult time, I think, during our relationship on the environment when the US left the Paris agreement. That ambition globally be built with our European partners, and we can talk more about that.

I think also related, of course, is our work in the Arctic, where we shouldn't forget, we share the Arctic Circle, of course, with many EU member states, including, of course, Denmark, Sweden and Finland, very active in the Arctic Council. Fourth, trade, where we have a trade and cooperation partnership, the CETA agreement, and there I have to say Michelle, the proof is in the pudding, three and a half years into this agreement now ratified. Trade is increased more than 25 percent on both sides between 2016 and 2019, and during an incredibly difficult year in the pandemic, we saw our Canadian exports to the EU, in fact, stay almost perfectly stable with some increases. Particularly, as Canada demonstrated its value proposition as a food security partner, globally to Latin/South America, Asia and of course to the EU during the pandemic amongst other products, not least of which included inputs and various contributions to vaccines. We received, of course, a large amount of our Q1 vaccines from the European Union that included our Pfizer supply chain and our Moderna supply chain. So the EU if, again, I like proof points, I like data, no better, I think, data point could be found in terms of the closeness of this relationship than the continued exports of vaccines to Canada.

And finally, of course, just want to touch on innovation and technology, because it's a question of how we're coming out of the pandemic, and investments on research and development, innovation and scaling up our companies is important. We have incredible EU investors in Canadian companies scaling up and vice versa. Very strong FDI on the technology side in Europe, strong business to business sales and of course, continued collaboration on biotech, artificial intelligence and a whole range of digital applications that are going to be essential to how we live life after this pandemic.

[Michelle and Stefanie's panels rejoin.]

Ailish Campbell: So, I've just touched on a few points, Michelle, I hope that's a helpful introduction, looking forward to our discussion. Thanks.

Michelle d'Auray: Thank you. Ailish, that covers quite a lot. Stefanie, over to you.

[Stefanie's panel fills the screen.]

Stefanie Beck: Well, similarly, it's difficult to squeeze everything into a few minutes, but I'll try to set the scene to start off with.

[A purple title card pops into the corner, identifying her as Stefanie Beck, Deputy High Commissioner for Canada in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It lingers, and slides back off screen.]

Stefanie Beck: And of course, happy to take questions in both official languages afterwards. It is a very timely discussion, of course, the Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, lands in Cornwall on June 10th, on Thursday today, and he has his very first G7 Summit meeting, I think the first in two years. So, the Brits are very excited about this and determined since the beginning to have an in-person summit. This was extremely important to them and very meaningful in many, many different ways, which we can walk through a bit later.

I wanted to start, though, right at the beginning, though. Why Brexit? Why leave? I think it's fair to say that from an economics perspective, not a good idea. I don't think there were a whole lot of economists out there saying, "Hey, we should really remove ourselves from the European Union. This has not been a good deal for us." Not at all, this is very much a political discussion, an emotional discussion, one that is heard and interpreted differently across all the four nations. People tend to forget that the United Kingdom is made up of four nations, and each of them had a very different perspective on Brexit, and indeed, now going forward on the implementation.

Devolution itself, unlike in Canada, where our federal and provincial territorial structure has been in place since the beginning, here, it's only just over 20 years old, and that shows. I think those kinds of issues have become exacerbated with Brexit. So, the impact of COVID, the pandemic over the last 18 months has, to some extent, hidden the impact of Brexit on the economy of the United Kingdom, and indeed a little bit on the European Union as well. It's a little hard to judge what the statistics are, due only to the pandemic and due as well to Brexit itself. The very long transition period created massive uncertainty for, well, all the players really, not just European Union remaining members, but the United Kingdom and all of the trading partners as well. Canada acted early to put in place a continuity agreement, basically a transition agreement from our brilliant CETA, the Canada Europe Trade Agreement, to something more substantive, which will be negotiated starting probably in September, the fall of this year.

The negotiations themselves, I would say through four years of uncertainty, three Prime Ministers, two elections in the United Kingdom, meant there was a lot of bitterness and this was not a win-win situation. You know, in most negotiations, we look for where do we have common ground? Where do we want a similar outcome? In this one, each side had different reasons for wanting to show success that would actually be to the detriment of the other side. The United Kingdom needed to show we are better out than in. The European Union needed to show that, well, actually, it's hard to get out, it's not worth leaving, and you're better off staying in. So, having that diametrically opposed kind of conversation is partly why it took four years, but also why it got so bitter and nasty at the end. Sitting here in London, you could tell it was very much a domestic political issue, and not only was the Prime Minister negotiating for a strong outcome for the country, he needed also to make sure that each of the nations was able to get something out of it. Of course, the recent elections in Scotland have shown that the Scottish National Party is back again and with significant numbers, and their goal is to return to the European Union and to get out of the United Kingdom. And of course, no Prime Minister of the United Kingdom wants to preside over that kind of change that would be coming. So, we can go more deeply into the different nations going forward, but very interesting.

I think where the UK has really been able to leverage the return of authorities home is around foreign policy. You will have seen it, of course, I'm sure you've all read their new integrated review, a long, complicated document. But really, the intent is to show that we're back on our own, we have our foreign policy independence, we can make decisions quickly, we are agile, we know where we're going, and we can pivot or tilt to the Indo-Pacific, if that's what we feel like doing. We can work more closely with the Five Eyes, if that's what we feel like doing. So, these kinds of changes, having the UK outside of the European Union are actually very good for Canada. We're finding a new, stronger partner with whom we can work very successfully on a whole range of foreign policy issues, and that's made a big difference to us. I'd be interested to hear from the other side, the European Union without the UK. Right? It has had an influence within, even if it's only one country, but it has had an influence, and that is also shifted the balance of power within the union itself.

The other thing that has come back to the United Kingdom, what I referred to at the beginning, that makes it harder for them, are things like devolved authorities.

[Ailish and Michelle's panels return to the screen.]

Stefanie Beck: So, the United Kingdom has not had to come up with any agricultural policy, for instance, in 40 years. So how do you do it? Who makes up the rules? Who decides where the money that is not going to the European Union is going? What's the framework around each of those? How much goes to the nations? How much do they keep here in London? All of those kinds of questions clearly were not thought through in great detail, even though those four years, and now that the chickens are coming home to roost, as the expression goes, there's been a lot of scurrying around going "Oh, wait, but we also need people to administer this, and we need expertise and we're not quite sure where to start." There's been a lot of that kind of discussion in the background over the last few months, and I haven't even started on the Northern Ireland protocol, but we can save that for later. I'll stop there.

Michelle d'Auray: Thanks, Stefanie. You've both pointed to the changes a bit in foreign policy and how that would relate to Canada. The European Union has emerged with, I guess its own now foreign affairs group after some discussions.

[Michelle's panel fills the screen.]

How does that relate to Canada, and how do we relate now to the European Union in that context? And the same thing for the UK, how are we positioning ourselves? The UK did a bit of a, I was going to say pivot, but it's a bit more than that in relation to China. For a long time it was very open and friendly to China, and it did a, I would say 180, that's a bit more than a pivot. I'll use China as an example, perhaps for the European Union, which is a bit, my view, struggling a bit on that issue, on the positioning on that. So how does Canada navigate the new foreign policy environment of the EU and the UK? Stefanie, I'll start with you and then I'll turn to Ailish.

Stefanie Beck: I think that the phrase that comes up right away is the transatlantic relationship. This is something Dr. Campbell and we here and others, in fact all of our missions across the European capitals have been coming to terms with.

[Stefanie's panel fills the screen.]

The change with the administration in the United States has also opened up lots of opportunities, not just for us, not the UK, the EU, but everybody, and I think there's a fair bit of review and rumination on how we can best position ourselves to take advantage of that. We have a window of opportunity right now. Strictly Canada-UK bilateral relationship on the foreign policy side and with relation to China, I think if anything is becoming clear, it's the extent of collaboration that exists between our countries. Not a day goes by that we are not in the Foreign Office here or vice versa, them reaching out to us, asking for our views on any number of countries. China is absolutely one of those about which we discuss regularly. The UK has been extremely supportive and helpful to us in our quest to get our two Canadian citizens "the Michaels" out of the arbitrary detention in which they have been for too long now. The UK has always been at the front of the line being helpful in that.

I'd say it goes broader than that though too, because people need to remember we have, I believe it's over 300 thousand Canadian citizens living in Hong Kong. If anything happens there where people start to feel the need to leave, it very much affects us too. Hong Kong, therefore, another not an issue, it's a burning, deep, messy file with multiple aspects to it, where we regularly discuss with the UK what their plans are, what their public announcements are going to be and how to move forward.

On the other hand, there is always the more prosaic discussions around trade, and the need to engage, and what happens with trying to demonstrate solidarity in corporate social responsibility, in businesses doing business with parts of the Chinese society and agencies that are reliable and are, for instance, not using employees in ways that they shouldn't be doing so. It's a complex and profound relationship and I think now is a really good opportunity since the UK is finding it is more fleet of foot and we can take advantage of that agility.

Michelle d'Auray: Ailish?

[The other two panels pop in for a moment. Ailish's panel fills the screen.]

Ailish Campbell: Yeah, I think I can build really well on what Stefanie was saying, because I think what she was talking about in terms of agility on the UK side is a really powerful point. I think in talking about Canada and the European Union on foreign policy, again, I would start with a foundation around NATO and our security relationship.

[Ailish's lighting gently flickers.]

I'm not sure how many Canadians appreciate that one of our largest, if not the largest battalion of Canadians, is right now in the European Union in Latvia, conducting operations and, of course, assuring the Latvian border and watching for foreign interference. So that operation is incredibly important and is one of the strongest areas of collaboration and it's happening, as I say, through this structural foundation of our relationship, which bridges the UK, the US and the EU nicely. Stephanie said the transatlantic relationship, exactly. I think I'd layer on top of that, and I think this is a really interesting structural piece, is the fact that unlike in trade policy or, for example, in aspects of economic policy- and by the way, I apologize, my lights are going on, on and off and I, all I can say is, "Hey, in the pandemic it's just a miracle that I'm even online." So, I'm focusing on the big picture here.

But foreign policy is done by unanimity, foreign policy is done by unanimity here. What does that mean? It means that often the EU cannot create a common position. One member state has to veto, or one member state has to present a refusal or absent themselves, and that ability of the EU to project themselves in foreign policy falls down. So, that is a real challenge and incredibly active, I think what's fascinating in the European Union for Canada and the lessons are across a whole range of areas around governance, Michelle and Stefanie, right. It's around what structures are our allies choosing in order to make really complex decisions and trade-offs. And in foreign policy, the active discussion here is whether there should be a common perspective on introducing what's called majority voting, essentially, to come up with a common foreign policy. That to date has not been accepted by member states. And then I think what we can talk about is volatility and values.

So, the world is becoming more volatile, even closer to home, and that includes, of course, the US, which, for example, has not had a stable policy on issues like immigration and, for example, closer to home for us as well, the environment. What that means is Canada has to be even more assertive about its about values and interests, and it has to build coalitions of partners. It's a much more complicated world, I think, than the one I first joined Global Affairs Canada back in the Trade Department 15 years ago. And that complexity means that we are analysing issue by issue where our coalitions of partners exist. And we could get into some of those, and that includes, of course, on human rights, on sanctions and the importance, that Stefanie talked about, of transparent supply chains across a whole range of products. Some supply chains, incredibly complex, and some supply chains for Canada, quite simple, including commodity agricultural products that we're going to continue to export at scale around the world.

So, we need to really start parsing out what we do in terms of foreign policy, in terms of trade, in terms of security, on those multilateral partners, on an issue-by-issue basis while we work, and I think this is, again, in addition to NATO on the institutional side, there's certain multilateral institutions, including during the pandemic, the World Health Organisation, on the trade side, the World Trade Organisation, where the rules-based international order and our prosecution of our partners, again, remains global in scale. And we have to move forward together on climate change, of course, the third example that I might table there.

[Stephanie and Michelle's panels pop back in.]

Michelle d'Auray: I think those are really interesting points, because when I was sitting at the OECD, I could see where there were divergences of values even within the European members of the OECD.

[Michelle's panel fills the screen.]

But there were convergences on some very important topics, even for Canada, such as the digital economy. So, while I sometimes had- I was leading a group on gender equity plus or gender equality plus, and I even had a few challenges of getting a number of our interesting European colleagues to sit at the table. But there was a group on the digital economy, and everybody came. So, you could see where the interest lies, both on the privacy, on the technology, on the artificial intelligence, on quantum, everyone wanted to participate because the rules in this area have yet to be completely set.

The other aspect was on climate change, even if there were some differences of opinion or views, everyone saw the impact and I would say post pandemic even more so. So perhaps you could talk a bit about how the UK is positioning, and Canada can position itself on areas of common interest, so climate, technology and I would throw in post pandemic building back.

[Stefanie and Ailish's panels return to the screen]

There's some really interesting opportunities. So, Ailish you touched on a couple of those. Over to you.

[Ailish's panel fills the screen.]

Ailish Campbell: Sure, I think the most important thing that we can do is, first of all, check our assumptions, Michelle, you know? What are we building back from and what might have structurally changed, particularly over the last year? And I say that because I think what we're going to see is some green shoots on the labour market side in Canada, right? Employment edging up, hours worked is obviously a real measure of our economic success, but I'd also say on economic inclusion, this has been, in the words of some experts, a "she-session" where women have left the labour market, and if we don't solve childcare, we don't solve economic inclusion and a recovery. And the reason I say that is because we've got to check our assumptions about how we partnered with countries over the last year. What were the positives? What were the challenges? Obviously, on vaccine diplomacy, Canada and the European Union, along with partners like the US, have financed at the global level COVAX, the CONVAX facility and the accelerator, which are about a pandemic recovery for the world. And we're going to solve, first of all, distribution and access to vaccines in Canada. I take note, and I'm thrilled that the North and indigenous communities were prioritized for the vaccine rollout in Canada and that in their own languages we had a lot of public health innovation, including community-based public health. We've got a lot to share with the European Union on that, and we have a lot to share, I think, on both the challenges and successes around digital health. That will be a live issue right now as we build out interoperability on recognizing each other's vaccine certificates.

[Stefanie and Michelle's panels rejoin. Stefanie nods as Ailish speaks.]

Ailish Campbell: And, you know, Stefanie knows better than anyone, this is a huge amount of work by our colleagues around the world. But, Michelle, you've got something, I think really fundamental, so I'll just pick one thing, and that's data. Data is generated all the time everywhere.

[Ailish's panel re-fills the screen.]

The European Union, and I think this is stylistically really interesting for the public servants and people that are joining us today, I can't emphasize enough the emphasis on privacy and on permissions here. It's a very pro-consumer activist version of data generation, data storage, the right to be forgotten. The EU has been at the forefront globally, frankly, on a range of these issues. Canada with its interoperability with both the European Union, with the UK now, with the US, and I think increasingly, obviously with the comprehensive and progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership with partners like Australia, Japan and New Zealand, Vietnam and others, we're trying to create a system where we have those kinds of permissions and transparency on data. We have data localization, for example, on sensitive information like health, and then we're also allowing more open data prosecution, than perhaps our European partners, when it comes to what is consumer-related data. I think we're exactly as you said, Michelle, we're still in a building process here. So many questions and regulations yet to both be built, be reformed, be adopted. A huge discussion right now on platform technologies, and my message, is in fact, to our US cousins. Where I think they have, in fact, to catch up to us, because I think it's clear that we're building the next economic fundamentals and new business models, which are obviously already in place, including with Google and Amazon and on the Canadian side, with champions like Shopify and Mindbridge, our financial institutions.

[Michelle and Stefanie's panels pop back in.]

And we have not yet come to a common understanding, frankly, amongst democracies in those issues, it's why your work at the OECD was so important; and a file to watch this year, but frankly, for the next five to ten years, because these things are complicated, never gets solved, is rules on taxation of digital products. Data generated products, which, Michelle you were at the heart of this at the OECD. Those issues are not only not solved, the US just before arriving here for their summit, the US-EU summit, has announced a countermeasure against those countries who have introduced a digital tax, which includes France and Spain and the United Kingdom.

[Ailish's panel fills the screen.]

They've suspended it pending talks for six months, but these are the kind of areas where Canada has to be incredibly clear about the ability to tax productive businesses, no matter what their business model is, to have the fiscal revenue to come in to address not only the incredible fiscal measures that were taken during the pandemic, but also set up, I think, a more equal tax and sustainable fiscal model for ourselves and also that by its nature, it involves our partners in Europe, the UK and the US.

[Stefanie and Michelle's panels pop back in.]

Michelle d'Auray: And I think we'll see even more of a US presence on those fronts, as we've seen with Janet Yellen and her proposal on a, I'd call it a flat corporate tax, probably not how she would qualify it. And- sorry?

[Ailish raises a finger.]

Ailish Campbell: The minimum corporate.

Michelle d'Auray: Minimum, yes. And the Biden administration coming forward with its proposal to reach an agreement with the EU on privacy. And that is also going to be- And we have a kind of an EU summit coming up, and I'll come to that in a minute, but we have Stefanie. I'll turn to you to touch on a couple of the subject areas that we've just been talking about.

Stefanie Beck: Well, and they're all massive, right? And we could just talk digital taxation for half an hour anyway.

[Stefanie's panel fills the screen.]

And those discussions were held at the G7 finance ministers' meeting in London recently, and there will have been lots of pronouncements from DPM Freeland. So, very interesting to watch something that actually has been discussed in, I don't know, in cabinet for many, many years now. How to make the most of what we have, how to secure that revenue and how to best direct it. What do we actually do with it when it comes in there? I mean, a whole lot of other discussions around that going forward.

On climate change, I would always say climate change and biodiversity, right? Adding in the nature aspect to that as well. Crucial for a country like Canada, it tends to be an afterthought, and yet it's actually underlying the development of our country in every single way. We can't not talk about nature, it's the heartbeat of our own nation and our own dependence and interdependence on other countries as well.

The UK has the pride and joy of hosting the G7 this year, but also COP26, and they have made those two summits, the crown jewels in their new foreign policy, but also domestic policy. Since January and even before, with relation to the G7, the UK government has made it very clear that they have very high ambitions. They have put out a lot of weight and phone calls and diplomatic démarches around the planet, aiming at the countries who really need to step up now, and as many will know already, the pandemic will pass, climate change will not. An enduring problem that we need to deal with, it is no less urgent than the pandemic, and this is something that the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has never ceased to state. So, you will see a progression in the kinds of activities they've undertaken and the announcements, and we expect to hear more, of course, out of the G7 Summit once that's all said and done, but there's going to be another summit held at the end of July here in London, summit at the ministerial level to again push countries to come forward. They're hoping for a net zero G7, for more announcements on carbon.

But also, how would you get international business more involved? Owning it more? Responding to clients and consumers more? We've seen Mark Carney taking action on that and he's almost half a Brit having spent so much time here and his wife being a Brit as well, but now working for the United Nations on something we can all agree on. And I think you'll see more businesses stepping up, a couple of the Canadian pension funds have already said that they will be moving to net zero, we'll be seeing more of that as we go forward. Oil and gas in Canada looking to how they can transform their energy production into something cleaner.

[Michelle and Ailish's panels pop up. Ailish takes notes as Stefanie speaks.]

Canadian government can, of course, help with that but it's not something we're going to do alone, and this is one of the goals of the United Kingdom, is really to bring everybody on board as we go forward and have some even better announcements in time for COP26 in Glasgow, November 1-2 right at the beginning. Not clear if it'll be the usual 30 thousand people, by the way. It may well, you know pandemic oblige, may just be leaders and key negotiators, and the rest of the normal contingent who would be there in a hybrid setup, having businesses on the side, something like that instead, or smaller groups. But something to look forward to there for sure.

[Stefanie's panel fills the screen.]

On building back better, that's also a theme coming out of the G7 Summit for sure, and the UK is the first to say it out loud. I think Canada has also morphed that into building back greener and better and more equitably. Certainly, those of you who are working on medium-term transition planning, those will be the kinds of programs and policies that Privy Council office will be looking for going forward, something that manages to hit on multiple issues at once. Here in the UK, they refer to that as levelling up, so trying to spread the wealth across the country, in particular the north of England, where, coincidentally, Boris Johnson needs more seats, not that it's related or anything like that. But obviously it's something that's important to ensure that the most vulnerable communities are the ones that are part of the recovery over the coming months and years.

[Michelle and Ailish's panels return.]

Michelle d'Auray: I'm going to go back to a topic that you both mentioned, that is, women. So, the G7 Summit continued the Canadian initiative on the importance of equality. The European Union has some very prominent women at the head of the European Central Bank, namely, the president. What are the elements to … and Ailish, you mentioned governance issues, also governance models. So how can Canada and the European Union work together to advance gender equity issues, or I should say, gender equality issues? And the same for the G7 Summit, what can we expect at that level?

[Ailish's panel fills the screen.]

Ailish Campbell: Michelle, maybe I can add three points. First, I did a little research this morning, and it's really interesting to me that in Canada, as female ambassadors, we represent half, that is, almost half of our ambassadors are women. But, in particular, for economists like me, it's a matter of distribution. And I have to say it again, in addition, women hold half of the G7 positions, and I think that's, that's also important. These women include our ambassador in Washington, Kirsten Hillman, yes, and our ambassador here in Europe, in France, Isabelle Hudon. And I think that representation, it's really, really important, and I say that because only six of the twenty-seven member states have a woman as their ambassador representing them for the European Union here in Brussels. For me, the European Union has a challenge. In my opinion, on only the, we say the first step, and that's, that's representation. Second, we are completely aligned on feminism, especially with the members, the northern member states, such as Sweden and Finland. Today, I spoke with the permanent representative, Maya, and she was incredible, such an influential woman. But I must say that feminism isn't accepted by a lot of cultures in the way it's accepted in Canada. So, we've had a … a lot of discussions and not just with the governments but also with the business groups in which there are no female representatives as leaders. That means "Suite C," C-Suite we say here, but also at the top as CEOs. Third, I would say, and Michelle, you pointed out our collaboration and cooperation in the G7, at the centre of the G7, and that's, that's regarding the development of women and girls in development. That means that in third world countries, we could say in Africa, and development, education for girls, for children, that's, that's really, really important. And on this third track, we could say, on this third point, I am more confident in our collaboration with the European Union.

[Michelle and Stefanie's panels return to the screen.]

Michelle d'Auray: Stefanie?

[Stefanie's panel fills the screen.]

Stefanie Beck: For us, I'd say that it's the same here in the UK. Considerable emphasis has been put on what's happening in terms of women's development. I'd say not only in the G7 but also in discussions on women's bilateral and multilateral development. As you know, the UK cut its foreign aid significantly this year. They said it was because of the pandemic. But hopefully it will be restored in the coming years. But, they still kept the return to school as a priority, for example, for young women, and also education in general. But for the G7 more specifically, education, of course, female empowerment and ending violence against women. These are the three themes, if you will, but it starts right now at home. In fact, the UK is in the process of changing its legislation on violence against women, and some events occurred recently here in London that have really made this a top issue in the newspapers and the media. Something that is critical to the future of UK politics as well, so it's not an economic question. It's not a political question. It's everywhere all the time.

[Ailish and Michelle's panels pop in for a few moments, and then Stefanie's panel fills the screen again.]

How can we make sure the recovery includes women and includes vulnerable communities too, of course? they are often one and the same. And the UK will also be hosting at the end of July, another big international conference on girls' education and are seeking large financial contributions from many countries, including Canada. And this is actually also an outcome of G7 at Charlevoix. Just like the Gender Equality Advisory Council was as well, and we were very happy to have ambassador Isabelle Hudon part of that council again before she goes off to be the head of the big BDC, Business Development Bank of Canada, if I'm not mistaken.

[Michelle and Ailish rejoin.]

Michelle d'Auray: Can I take you both now on something that is going to... It's a subject that is on many fronts, those who travel, but also in Canada: the vaccine passport. How is the European Union addressing that and what impact might it have on Canada? And I know that it is a bit of an issue in the UK as well, not just in the UK-Transatlantic relationship, but also the UK-EU relationship. So, just a bit of a topical issue. Ailish, do you have any perspectives on that?

[Ailish's panel fills the screen.]

Ailish Campbell: Sure, Michelle. And before we address that, I just want to build on what Stefanie was saying in that last piece. I think something that came out of the work in the G7 was also how much work Canada still has to do on diversity and inclusion. So, I mean, I just take note that representation is so much beyond gender and we're going to keep working on that as well. I think just even closer to home, representation of Canada requires us to do so much more work and we're going to do that hard work on better representing all of Canada, including from racial backgrounds, LGBTQ+ backgrounds, really just becoming, I think, just much richer and more representative of us in all of our facets.

[Stefanie and Michelle's panels rejoin.]

And I take note, we're all women, we're all white women. There's lots of work that we can do to lift up, but also promote actively at our senior levels so many fantastic Canadians. I say this with some humility, because I can I'll be frank. I can kind of, you know, really put the gears to the Europeans on gender representation, but we've got work to do at home on so many other vectors.

Your question on vaccine passports? Listen, first thing I learned from our amazing consular team "Don't say passport." I'm supposed to say vaccine certificate because there's only one passport and that's the one that you get in order to cross borders, and that's invaluable, right? And I'm looking at Stefanie--

[Stefanie nods.]

Michelle d'Auray: Okay, alright. Thank you, thank you for that. I will now say vaccine certificates.

Ailish Campbell: Hey listen, I was in the same basket, I was in the same group as you. So, I'm repeating the fantastic advice of my consular people. And in that respect, we're going to see, I think, three important factors. The first is, which vaccines the World Health Organization- so this just impresses upon us the importance of the bilateral cooperation, but also at a multilateral level. The World Health Organization is the one that's deciding, if you will, what threshold a vaccine has to be efficacious in order to get onto one of their lists. Then member states are going to have to decide if they accept that WHO list or if they're going to create a subset of vaccines that they consider permissible to be, you for example, or citizens abroad to be designated as "vaccinated." Right.

Secondly, I think this is going to come into how we recognize certificates. Will there be a kind of global not-for-profit? There's a number of initiatives, including from the WHO. I would say the World Economic Forum is working on something called Common Pass with a not-for-profit group, there could be others, Five Eyes, etc. Where we understand which paperwork is going to be accepted or not. But we come back to an even more fundamental issue, and I think Stefanie touched upon it. How do we live with COVID? And in that respect, new variants, the requirement to get on airplanes has corporate policies, airlines themselves are setting their own policies, for example, for negative testing. How sensitive those tests have to be? If it's 24 hours before in some countries, if it's 72 hours before for others, there's a lot of questions to work through. And that's why our colleagues on the border working in public health are so important. I just- huge kudos to all of those working on these issues and it's not going to be one definitive answer. There's going to be multiple.

And finally, inside the EU, they're quite fascinated that inside Canada we had a kind of, if you will, a provincial aspect to this, where some provinces were also regulating how fellow Canadians entered their provincial space. So, lots to work through, but I think, you know, again, being a federated country, a confederation, helps us understand how we're going to have to deal with this with so many others, including our border and the quarantine policies, and how in the risk assessment- because risk is never zero. How do we do risk assessment? How do we do risk mitigation? And my hypothesis is it's going to require a really careful look at a number of variables, including what country you're travelling from or even what province, in our case, vaccinations, COVID rates and variants. Travellers are going to have to really pay attention to information and we're going to have to do a good job communicating.

[Stefanie and Michelle's panels rejoin.]

Stefanie Beck: Mm-hmm.

Michelle d'Auray: It is fundamentally affecting, I would argue, also the concept of freedom of movement.

Stefanie Beck: Yeah.

Michelle d'Auray: And I think that's a very important component of the European Union as an economic market, as a body, but it also has affected Canada, as you pointed out 1 Ailish, because we've had, I won't say border closures, but restrictions on internal travel. And I think that for the first time in, in memorial I think. But the concept of freedom of movement is a very important one for the European Union and it was also one and remains one a question, I think, so I'm using the vaccine certificate as a proxy for the discussion of the movement of people between the European Union and the UK, and also between the European Union, the UK and Canada.

Stefanie Beck: Yeah, it's a- this is another one of those never ending conversations because it is so evolutionary and revolutionary at the same time.

[Stefanie's panel fills the screen.]

For me and since we're talking to our colleagues, public servants, this is a great public policy question, really fascinating because of all of the different aspects involved. So, you will remember that in the beginning, the discussions around vaccine certification were really around domestic issues. Do I need it to- in the UK here was, "do I need it to go into a pub? Do I need it to go to a concert?" And lots of consternation around "Wait a minute. My freedom of movement within my own country- already you're saying that's going to be limited and maybe I have a reason I don't have the vaccine." There's a whole other subset of what is "fully vaccinated?" If you get one AstraZeneca and one Moderna, are you fully vaccinated? We could have a committee debating that for some time. Here in the United Kingdom the data issues are less dreadful than they are in Canada because the national health system captures all the data, and they have an existing app that can be converted so that you can actually use that to show a QR code or whatever it might be. Not forgetting, of course, there is still a significant number of people who do not carry a mobile phone and is not capable of pulling up a widget when necessary.

In Canada, and again, a long-standing issue around data: Fed, Prov, territorial. Who holds the data? Who is willing to share it? Who's willing to share it in a timely manner? I mean, we've tried for I don't know how many years to come up with a piece of federal identification. It's virtually impossible. There was a whole separate discussion around the actual passport that has a little chip in it. There were a whole lot of people saying "Well, we could just wave it past some health database and the information would fly into the chip and then..." But, no. No. also not an option. So IRCC, CBSA, Transport Canada, probably some of you watching right now, closely involved in developing the thing, and I presume it's going to have to be more than one, something in hard copy. So, like I said, really interesting from an ideological perspective, policy perspective. But I think what everybody agrees with and we certainly from many, many months ago, there has to be something. There has to be a way of proving that you have had both of your vaccinations, whatever they are, so that, yes, you can get on that cruise or on that aircraft.

The other angle there is what are the airlines checking? Let's say the Indians come up with one version and the Brits another, and you can just see how complicated that would all become. You know, ironically, it would lead to greater freedom of movement. If we do have something or other that is recognized by everybody, you'd think ICAO should be involved, right? So that it would be globally acceptable, as well as the WHO. Here's where we need to reinforce WHO authorities or ICAO authorities as well, so the way forward becomes clearer for everybody. And Canada can't wait. This is another thing, there has been a "Well, you know, we'll get around to it." No, no. the EU is there, right? Dr. Campbell, if she wanted to tomorrow, she could go out and get, well I don't know if you're fully vaccinated, go and get the "green" certificate. And right now, Brits travelling, showing details of their vaccinations, to Portugal and back, and Iceland and back. So, it's now. The time is now.

[Michelle and Ailish's panels return.]

Michelle d'Auray: It's a fascinating development of the pandemic where this idea of certifying your health is becoming a new travel document. I won't use the word passport, but a means of accessing another country, another place, another province, perhaps even within Canada. I'm going to switch gears again. You both have summits coming up, the Prime Minister is coming to- I was going to say to London but it's Cornwall, and to Brussels, both for the NATO summit but also for the EU-Canada relationship summit. All public servants are always keen on this, how and what are you briefing the Prime Minister? What are the top five issues? How's that?

[Stefanie laughs.]

Stefanie Beck: Well, I'll go first just because in chronological order, the G7 Summit is first. I guess in good public service format, I should tell you, we're not briefing the Prime Minister anything.

[Stefanie's panel fills the screen.]

This is a multilateral visit, right. It's not actually under the control of this bilateral mission here in the United Kingdom. If it were a Commonwealth meeting, yeah, because we are accredited to the Commonwealth. So, we'll be talking to him about his bilateral meeting with Boris Johnson. But more broadly, for the G7, it's a series of ministerials, right? So there have been actually, I think, seven ministerial meetings in the lead up to this summit, each of them highly successful, a couple of them in person and the rest virtual, interestingly chosen in part because of the pandemic, but also by virtue of what they're discussing.

In some cases, you need to be here in person, Foreign Minister Marc Garneau was here in person. Most of what they talked about, you will not read about in the press and therefore, it's actually hard to justify that "Well, they talked about X and that's why they had to be there in person." It's kind of this weird problem that we get ourselves into. The Prime Minister has also spoken to Prime Minister Johnson several times in the lead up to this summit. Prime Minister Johnson has done what I would expect any good leader to do, he's made calls to all the G7 leaders. He wants to make sure that his summit is well set up for success. It needs to be a success from a domestic political perspective, as well as Prime Minister Johnson's own personal motivation and frankly, for the world.

It's an interesting pandemic phenomenon here, I'll just mention because it's not "normal." In the actual in-person meetings in the lead up to this summit, people have been so happy to be in the same room with other actual humans. The atmosphere has been overwhelmingly positive, effusive even.

[Ailish and Michelle's panels rejoin.]

And so, what would normally be maybe thorny discussions on the negotiations of a final communiqué "oh, you want that word? Sure. Or how about this other word? How about this sentence instead." You know, flower throwing, air kissing much happiness. So, it's actually a really great wave to ride, and in fact, maybe it's looking like the very high ambitions of the United Kingdom will all be met.

[Stefanie's panel fills the screen.]

And I would largely contribute that to people just being delighted to have actual human interaction, which I would say is another reason that it is very important that we have in person diplomacy, all kinds of discussions around that. That's maybe a separate conversation, but really the way for it. I can go through the G7 priorities, if you like, but you guys can read them online. What I think is really neat is this atmosphere thing and how much is achieved in person that is not achievable by MS Teams.

[Ailish and Michelle's panels rejoin.]

Michelle d'Auray: Interesting, Ailish?

Ailish Campbell: Yes, Stefanie, I really appreciate that atmosphere point. It sounds great to me because imagine, I've arrived during the pandemic. I started my posting in November 2020, I haven't even met my- our management team as a whole in person, we've been doing everything on Teams and there is this magical moment when you do meet someone for the first time with your masks outside in the park and you're like "Wow, you're a real person." I think your atmospherics point is really well taken. And let's make the most of it for Canada at this time, because I think we have a strong relationship. Let's just talk globally, credibility, stability, a vision of the future that I think has been really well served by successive governments in Canada across a long period of time. There is a reason we're known, if you will, as the closest thing to a member state, who is not a member state of the European Union. Because of those values and interests and ways of doing things that I talked about. And, of course, as well, I think our unique understanding of both the multiculturalism, but also the here now in the core of the European Union, this started as a Franco-German project and now has advanced to both the Nordics that we understand, Eastern Europe, who we know from our work in NATO.

And so, when we brief our Prime Minister, I think it's going to be really important, first and foremost, it's all about pandemic recovery. It's about our recovery in harmony with others, which includes, you know, stable supply chains, it includes vaccines and ongoing research and development. Let's not forget, of course, on therapeutics, because COVID is going to be with us in diagnostics. The pandemic recovery, but also all the things that we talked about today with regards to equity and inclusion. I think as soon as we're out of the health crisis, we're into a really deep social and economic crisis, and understanding and sharing lessons and best practices real, true ones. For example, the Germans taught us in the last global financial crisis a lot about both active labour market training, career re-training for people who are outside of formal university years. Canada still has a lot of work to do on increasing training of people after their traditional college and high school years. And so that active labour market re-training piece, and also job sharing, which was a key feature, we saw some good wage stabilization and subsidies as part of our pandemic response, the Canada Emergency Business account for small business.

So, there's all kinds of lessons on the pandemic recovery, and then obviously the other big issue is pandemic recovery globally. How are we increasing the supply of vaccines and production globally? How are we focused, for example, on vaccine diplomacy for Africa? For the Caribbean, Latin and South America? Which is really Canada's neighbourhood, how are we helping so many others that need access to this vaccine? That has to- those will obviously be the top two issues. And then because I think both of you have done a great job highlighting it, the biodiversity, climate change and also just ongoing environmental regulation, sustainability and bringing in all aspects of society into the common project that we have to do in order to safeguard this planet. A nature positive solution, I remind people here in Europe that when Canada takes its 30 percent protected spaces by 2030 and beyond that, it's an area equivalent to the five largest EU member states, plus three others. So, Canada is in essence, along with the Amazon, the Congo Basin and Central Europe's Peat Bog and the carbon sinks there. These are the four lungs of the planet, so the environment will absolutely be front and foremost in those discussions with the Prime Minister.

Also, because Canada is seen as a leader, but also has to show how energy intensive economies can make this transition. Lots of good conversations with provincial colleagues to come as well, particularly in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia, as we make that green transition that Stefanie highlighted.

[Stefanie and Michelle's panels rejoin.]

Michelle d'Auray: I'm going to wrap up now. It's been a little while since we've had a conversation that touched on almost all of the topics we wanted to cover. I think for those of you who are watching and listening, you've got a complete overview of all the public policy challenges that Canadian public servants will face or are facing. We share values with the European Union and the UK, we have good transatlantic partnerships, we have good trade relationships-

[Michelle's panel fills the screen.]

-we have good and similar governance mechanisms, but we can share our lessons, our public policy and our programs. We have made some major strides in many areas that we can share with others, and we can learn from the others as well. But I think on the value system, on the governance, on our approach to climate, I think that we have- and our approaches to trade- a rules-based international order.

[Ailish and Stefanie's panels return.]

We have lots of commonalities that we can continue to pursue, and I want to thank you both. A sincere thank you to Dr. Campbell, Ms. Beck, Stefanie, Ailish, thank you both for this fascinating coverage of a very wide range of issues. So, I wish you all well and your summits that are coming up, and thank you very much. Goodbye.

[Stefanie and Ailish wave.]

Stefanie Beck: Thank you.

Ailish Campbell: Thank you. Goodbye.

[The chat fades to the animated white Canada School of Public Service logo appears on a purple background. Its pages turn, closing it like a book. A maple leaf appears in the middle of the book that also resembles a flag with curvy lines beneath. The government of Canada Wordmark appears: the word "Canada" with a small Canadian flag waving over the final "a." The screen fades to black.]

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