Economic Cooperation

Description/ Members

Through the combination of expertise on economic and monetary integration and legal expertise, this theme focuses on mutually reinforcing Canada-EU economic engagements. While Canada is represented in all international economic institutions, it is more a policy-taker than a policy-maker in global economic affairs. The EU, in contrast, is considered the global pace-setter in the field of regional economic integration. In light of challenges such as the financial crisis, but also Canada-EU free-trade negotiations, this thematic area will continue to be highly important. Areas of interest may include: monetary and currency fluctuations; the EU's internal economic system; and Canada's potential economic influence on its European partners.For more information go to For more information please visit the Research Cluster Description on the Strategic Knowledge Cluster Canada-Europe Transatlantic Dialogue website.

The activities of the Economic Cooperation and Competition Cluster members are lead by Dr. Kurt Huebner (University of British Columbia, economics aspect) and Dr. Armand de Mestral (McGill University, legal aspect)

CETA - the Canadian public and political parties not interested?

September 30 2015 - by Dr. Kurt Huebner, Director of the Institute for European Studies at the University of British Columbia
For quite a while, CETA was top news in Canada, and one would have expected that the Harper government would proudly present it as a success story for an active trade policy agenda. However, 'lie low' and 'fly under the radar' has been so far the attitude taken, not only by the Conservatives but also by the two other main Canadian parties. It seems that the latter are somehow happy not to present their actual thinking about Canada's future in the global economy. 

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Democarcy vs. Macroeconomics and the Problematic Legacy of European Integration

July 9th 2015 - by Dr. Elena Pnevmonidou, University of Victoria

About to reach what began to look like the hoped-for successful renegotiation of the bailout deal, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras suddenly announced on June 26 that he would hold a referendum and recommended that the Greek voters reject the new terms of the bailout set out by the Eurogroup and the IMF. Since that unexpected turn, events have unfolded at a breathtaking pace and in an at times absurd fashion. By calling for a referendum, Tsipras abruptly broke off negotiations and prompted the angered Eurogroup to withdraw the proposed renegotiated bailout from the table. Yet Greece went ahead with the referendum. A solid majority of 61% voted to reject what was on July 5 already a null-and-void deal. The referendum clearly legitimated Tispras’ approach to the Greek debt crisis, but it also widened the rift between Greece and its creditors and made future negotiations about a bailout or debt restructuring that much more difficult and complex. The conciliatory gesture of replacing the controversial Finance Minister Yannis Varoufakis with the softer spoken Euclid Tsakalotos was dismissed as too little too late by Greece’s creditors while drawing the ire of many Greeks among whom Varoufakis is a popular and celebrated hero.

After some futile attempts to reopen communication, calls for new proposals and failure – or refusal – to deliver such, Greece under the leadership of Tsipras is now facing what to all appearances is the final ultimatum: Deliver an acceptable proposal in time for the emergency summit of European leaders this Sunday – or else face the Grexit, the exit of Greece from the Eurozone.

As we find ourselves in the proverbial quiet before the storm, this is a good moment to take stock of some key developments and core themes that have emerged thus far and to offer commentary and clarification about some of the narratives that are circulating about the Greek crisis.

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Germany's Vice-Chancellor supports CETA

December 2 2014 - by Kurt Huebner, Institute for European Studies, University of British Columbia

The German Minister for the Economy, Vice-Chancellor of the Coalition Government and head of the Socialdemocratic Party, Sigmar Gabriel, is a talented politician who comes with a lack of credibility. When protests of civil society organizations about CETA and more so about TTIP, latter still in the negotiation stage, swapped over to the German Federation of Labor (DGB) he was quick to state that TTIP will not come with the infamous investor-state-dispute-settlement (ISDS) clause. His - convincing - argument was that both entities, the US (Canada) as well as the member states of the EU, have excellent legal systems that do not need additional private courts for settling disputes between private companies and states. With this statement he was very much in line with his party that sent strong utterings over the last few months not to pass CETA in its current form. On November 27 in a debate in the German Parliament Gabriel performed a first-rate turnaround. He now stressed that CETA is a great negotiation outcome that needs not only to be signed off but actually is to be seen as the blueprint for everything that comes. And he added, that without CETA the negotiations with the US may come under further pressure, and more so Europe would lose out the race with emerging Asia and China. In brief, questioning CETA would be political as well as economic suicide.
Read Dr. Kurt Huebner's  full comment on his blog.

Dr. Kurt Huebner is the Director of the Institute for European Studies at the University of British Columbia and holds a Jean Monnet Chair for European Integration and Global Political Economy. He is also part of a pan-Canada network of experts working on European policy issues, the Strategic Knowledge Cluster Canada-Europe Transatlantic Dialogue.



Cyprus' bumpy road to economic recovery

March 26th, 2013 - by Dr. Patrick Leblond, University of Ottawa

After a week of intense negotiations and facing the threat of having to leave the euro, Cyprus has finally agreed to a bailout package from its eurozone partners and the International Monetary Fund. This package will force the liquidation of the country's second largest bank (Laiki), which will see its major creditors (bondholders and depositors with deposits above €100,000) take significant haircuts (20-40%) while smaller depositors will be spared as their deposits will be transferred in full to Bank of Cyprus. Creditors and depositors in other Cypriot financial institutions will also avoid paying the price for there bailout, unlike the previous bailout agreement where all depositors were to be subject to a tax on their deposits. This deal is certainly better for Cypriot residents and foreign depositors who do not hold deposits in Laiki; however, it remains to be seen if additional bank restructuring will not have to take place in the future, as the size of banking assets and deposits remain too large for the Cypriot economy. This will depend on three things: (1) the Greek economy can get back on its feet relatively quickly, (2) the Cypriot economy can quickly become less reliant on the banking industry, and (3) natural gas reserves potentially available to Cyprus can be successfully exploited in the not-so-distant future.



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