Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ meeting with Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau in Montreal

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis met today in Montreal with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Montreal. The dialogue between the two leaders at the start of their meeting follows:

Justin Trudeau: It’s an incredible pleasure for me to welcome my friend, Kyriakos, to Canada. It’s been 41 years since a Greek Prime Minister has come to Canada, and it took the friendship between my father and Prime Minister Papadreou to have it happen the first time. So this time I’m glad that our friendship has gotten you here today.

But that friendship is so deep between Canada and Greece. One of the proudest and most successful diasporas around the world is here in Canada. The ties are deep and growing. The challenges in the world require friends with shared values and perspectives to pull together and cooperate, whether it’s in the Middle East, whether it’s looking at some of the real challenges in Eastern Europe, around Ukraine, and elsewhere, whether it’s how we’re continuing to build on investments, even as we’re fighting against climate change and standing against wildfires with great cooperation.

There’s lots to do, lots more to do, but mostly just really happy to welcome Prime Minister Mitsotakis here. It’s just great to see you, Kyriakos.

Kyriakos Mitsotakis: Thank you very much, Mr Prime Minister. It is a real pleasure for me to visit Canada, after 41 years. For me, it’s a real honour to be able to visit Canada and to spend this very, very important day together with my good friend, the Prime Minister Trudeau, but also engaging with what is one of our most dynamic diasporas, the Greek-Canadian community.

Today is a very important day as we celebrate our Independence Day. But of course, it is also an opportunity to take stock of our bilateral relations, to emphasise the common values that bind together our two countries in times of significant global geopolitical challenges. Greece and Canada stand side by side, defending the rules-based international order.

And of course, it’ll be an opportunity to also talk about our economic ties. It is a chance for me to also make the case to the Canadian business community that Greece has changed and that we’ve left the difficult years of the crisis behind us.

But also, it’ll be an opportunity to sign important agreements that cement our cooperation when it comes to tackling the climate change. Greece is going to be the first country -and there are many others in the queue- to purchase the new Canadair water bombers, and we’ll be able to confirm and sign that agreement in a bit.

So lots to talk about in a visit that has both a political but also an emotional dimension for me. And indeed, I should say, I found a photo of you back in 1983, with your father, when you visited the Acropolis. You were very young at the time, but 41 years, it’s a long time. I’m happy to be able to spend this important day with you here and with the Greek community.

Justin Trudeau: But I have to say the Prime Minister is being modest. The change in the Greek economic situation, it’s really been more than just a change, it’s been extraordinary. What you have been able to lead in terms of economic strength of Greece right now is exceptional and we’re happy to play a continued role in the incredible growth that you’re seeing.

Kyriakos Mitsotakis: Thank you.

During the meeting, the common will to strengthen bilateral relations was confirmed, with emphasis on economic and trade cooperation.

The Prime Minister highlighted the prospects of the Greek economy and the investment-friendly business environment that has already attracted significant Canadian investment in Greece, adding that there is further room for improvement.

The two leaders also referred to the significant presence of Greek businesses in Canada, as well as to the great potential that can be developed in the tourism sector between the two countries.

They also discussed the challenge of climate change and dealing with extreme weather events.

During the meeting, particular emphasis was placed on the need for coordination, preparedness and training to deal with fires, as well as mega-fires.

The Prime Minister referred to Greece’s initiatives in the field of renewable energy sources, as well as to the diversification of supply sources and the energy security of Southern and Eastern Europe through interconnectivity.

The two leaders made special reference to the Greek community. The Prime Minister stressed the importance of the right to postal voting, while referring to the strategy for Greeks living abroad.

After the conclusion of the expanded talks, the two Prime Ministers attended the signing of the agreement for the acquisition of seven new state-of-the-art DHC-515 firefighting aircraft.

Attached is a joint statement adopted by the two leaders after their meeting.