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17 Apr 2009

Minister Arcand’s mission to Europe

Québec’s Minister of International Relations and Minister responsible for La Francophonie, Pierre Arcand, is carrying out a mission to Berlin, Munich and Linz from April 18 to 25. The Minister’s goal is to consolidate economic and political ties with Québec’s partners Germany and Upper Austria.

Germany

As negotiations leading up to an economic partnership agreement between Canada and the European Union are about to get under way, Québec hopes to strengthen its cooperation with Germany, particularly from the economic and political viewpoints. Germany is Québec’s second-largest economic partner, after the United States.

In Berlin, in addition to meeting members of the German federal government, Minister Arcand will meet with the Bundestag’s European Affairs Committee and German-Canadian Friendship Group. For the first time in relations between Québec and the Land of Brandenburg, an institutional meeting will be held with the Secretary of State and Head of the Chancellery, Clemens Appel, in order to expand bilateral relations.

With over 2,300 jobs created, Québec companies such as Bombardier and 5N Plus are already well established in this Land, created further to the 1990 reunification. For companies in the aeronautical sector, the construction of the Berlin Brandenburg International Airport, currently under way at Schönefeld, means highly interesting business opportunities.

In Munich, Minister Arcand will meet the new Bavarian government, elected in September 2008. He will also take part in a roundtable on the economic situation in Bavaria and the rest of Germany. According to the Minister, “Québec and Bavaria have enjoyed close relations for 20 years, and they go beyond the governments in place. We have to continue this relationship and keep on building ties with Bavaria.”

Québec also fosters relations with Bavaria and Upper Austria via the Conference of Heads of Government of Partner Regions, which meets periodically to identify potential partnerships.

Upper Austria

Among other things, Minister Arcand’s stop in Upper Austria will be an opportunity to bolster ties with this region. The Minister will meet with Upper Austrian Minister-President Josef Pühringer. He will also sit down with economic representatives of the Chamber of Commerce of Linz, capital of Upper Austria.

The trip to Linz, European Capital of Culture in 2009, will also be a chance for Minister Arcand to take in a performance by the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal (OSM), which is currently on a European tour funded in part by the Government of Québec. The Minister will present conductor Kent Nagano with a memento to underline the OSM’s European tour.

Relations between Québec and Germany
Relations between Québec and Austria
Québec Government office in Munich
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