Premier Jean Charest and International Relations Minister Pierre Arcand gave a positive account of their official working visit to Paris on June 29-30.
During a meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy and a luncheon with Prime Minister François Fillon, Mr. Charest had an opportunity to review efforts to implement the labour mobility agreement and to assess the status of negotiations towards a Canada-EU economic partnership agreement. “Both of these projects stem from initiatives developed by the Governments of Québec and France. They attest to our mature and fruitful bilateral ties and, in time, they will allow us to realize the potential of our respective economies for the greater good of our fellow citizens,” said the Premier.
New mutual recognition arrangements
Mr. Charest also attended a signing ceremony for three new bilateral mutual recognition arrangements (MRAs) on June 30, together with France’s Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, Bernard Kouchner. These agreements cover nurses, agronomist engineers and forestry engineers.
“Québec and France are making rapid progress on this ambitious and innovative project aimed at creating a one-of-a-kind bilateral labour mobility area. Labour mobility is one of the essential conditions for stimulating economic growth and ensuring the competitiveness of our respective economies. With the signature of these three arrangements today, we have now covered a number of professional sectors accounting for more than 85% of the qualification recognition applications submitted by French citizens seeking to work in Québec,” said Mr. Charest.
On the eve of the 50th anniversary of the Québec Government Office in Paris, the International Relations Minister underscored the significance of the progress made in recent months. “Building on the momentum provided by Premier Charest and President Sarkozy, we have signed MRAs covering 57 trades and professions in less than two years. This is a major achievement,” said Mr. Arcand.
Mr. Charest and Mr. Arcand also met with Abdou Diouf, Secretary General of the International Organization of La Francophonie (OIF). The leaders discussed the upcoming Francophone Summit, which will be held in Montreux, Switzerland. Mr. Charest expressed satisfaction that two of the key issues raised at the most recent Québec City Summit—the French language and the fight against climate change—will be on the agenda once again.
Québec-France understanding on mutual recognition of professional qualifications
Québec Government Office in Paris