POLITICS
09/08/2014 11:36 EDT | Updated 11/08/2014 05:59 EST

Canada and EU sign co-operation treaty on crime, energy

Canada and the European Union have signed a joint strategic partnership agreement on areas including energy and law enforcement.

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton sat down to sign the agreement this morning.

The partnership is a road map for all foreign affairs issues between Canada and the European Union. 

"The Canada-EU relationship has never been stronger. This was confirmed once more during our discussions here in Ottawa, where we agreed to further strengthen and broaden the scope of Canada-EU co-operation," Baird and Ashton said in a joint statement. 

The document outlines enhanced co-operation in areas of law enforcement, organized crime, cybercrime, money laundering, research co-operation and energy security.

Canada is the first G7 country to sign this type of deal with the European Union.  

Baird and Ashton are holding a news conference that began at 11:40 am ET. ​CBC News is carrying the conference live.

Canada and the EU are in the final phases of negotiating a free trade agreement. 

The two foreign ministers will likely talk about Europe's response to the crisis in Ukraine. European countries are slated to decide whether or not to add further sanctions on Russia for destabilizing role it played in the country's provinces of Donetsk and Lugansk.

"Canada and the EU share a common vision of peace and prosperity for all of Europe. In the face of unacceptable provocations in Ukraine, we continue to stand united in support of free, independent and democratic nations," said Baird and Ashton in the same joint statement.

Ashton is a Labour politician who was made a life peer in 1999 in the British House of Lords. Her official title is Baroness Ashton of Upholland.

In 2009, she became the high representative of the union for foreign affairs and security policy for the European Union. That post is also combined with vice-president of the European commission, the executive body of the EU. 

Ashton has chaired the P5+1 on Iran's nuclear program. The group includes the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council — China, France, Russian, the United Kingdom and the United States — and Germany.