On August 3, the CCMM played host to Annalena Baerbock, Germany’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, on her first visit to the country since her appointment, as well as the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Ministers Joly and Baerbock talked with Michel Leblanc about the strong ties between Canada and Germany and the main challenges facing the two countries: the joint response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the role of Canada and Europe in the world and energy security.
Neighbours in our heart who share the same values
Ministers Joly and Baerbock started their speeches by pointing to the great closeness between Canada and Germany.
“Friendships are important in diplomacy, between Germans, Quebecers, and Canadians. We have a strong relationship with Germany. In addition to being united by the G7, we have developed a trans-Atlantic friendship over the years.” – Mélanie Joly, Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs
“I am so pleased to finally be here in Canada. We are not geographical neighbours, but we are neighbours in our heart. We have the same values; we fight for democracy, for human rights.” – Annalena Baerbock, Germany’s Minister of Foreign Affairs
The need for a joint response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine
Minister Baerbock addressed the war in Ukraine, asserting that the European Union, the G7, and NATO are more united than ever.
“Europe is important. I think the European Union has never been more united, as is the case for the G7 and NATO. We have to stand together to defend peace and freedom.” – Annalena Baerbock
Minister Joly then highlighted Canada’s contribution to the joint response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“In the current context, it is important that Canada offer its expertise on the Ukraine. We have the largest Ukrainian diaspora, after Russia. We have been training its troops since 2014; there is an important relationship between the two countries.” – Mélanie Joly
Minister Baerbock also reiterated the commitment of her country and allies to Ukraine.
“We are doing everything we can to end the war. But the reality is that the war is going to continue. So, we will do everything in our power to support Ukraine, as long as is necessary.” – Annalena Baerbock
Minister Joly also pointed to the hybrid character of this war, as well as Canada’s daily demands for a ceasefire.
“Terrible things are happening as we speak. It is a hybrid war, in which energy resources and famine are being weaponized. Every day, we ask Russia to end the war. But its president is not at the helm of a democratic state like ours.” – Mélanie Joly
Insecurity in the energy supply
With winter approaching and increasing energy needs, Minister Baerbock promised that Germany would keep sanctions against Russia in place.
“We were dependent on Russian oil and gas before the war, and we were starting to reduce that dependency. But when we introduce sanctions, we have to make sure they are respected. Thanks to our allies and friends, we are prepared for every scenario.” – Annalena Baerbock
Minister Joly concluded the conversation by indicating that Germany had expressed its interest in investing in energy projects in Canada.
“Europe has long been more interested in buying Russian energy, which was cheaper. Today, Germany is knocking on our door to invest in energy projects, as well as in ecological transition projects. It is important to find solutions for today, and for the future.” – Mélanie Joly