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NEWS: Perimeter security, CETA to be discussed at G8 summit in France today

CTV reports, “Prime Minister Stephen Harper has travelled to the seaside resort town of Deauville, France, where a two-day G8 summit is now underway.” What’s on the agenda?

PERIMETER SECURITY: The Canadian Press reports, “Prime Minister Stephen Harper and U.S. President Barack Obama were expected to meet Thursday (afternoon) to discuss the next stage of the perimeter security agreement. …The prime minister’s office says it’s likely to result in some forward movement on the perimeter security deal. Work on the pact, which aims to control who enters and leaves the North American continent in a consistent manner, began in earnest last February. It would allow officials to ease security at the Canada-U.S. border, paving the way for a return to more free-flowing passage of vehicles and cargo.”

CETA: While the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) isn’t named in the report, the Canadian Press notes, “Harper will also be meeting with Cameron and the leaders of the European Union and European Commission.” CETA likely tops Harper’s list of foreign policy/ trade priorities with the European Union.

CLIMATE CHANGE: CTV reports, “G8 leaders will also be focused on other pressing issues, including nuclear safety, climate change and the state of the global economy…”

TUNISIA, EGYPT: CTV also notes, “The Group of Eight leaders are expected to consider what means of support they may offer for pro-democracy movements in the Mideast… The main focus is to find out how they’re going to assist and how to organize any assistance for Egypt and Tunisia… The Friday session will be aimed at identifying the most critical needs of Tunisia and Egypt as they move toward elections. Representatives from the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank will give G8 leaders their view on what steps need to be taken to modernize the economies of the two countries. …The final declaration out of the summit is expected to be in the form of a road map for bringing greater stability to the region, especially for Egypt and Tunisia. The leaders of both those countries will meet with G8 leaders on Friday. The agreement is being billed as similar to the massive Marshall Plan, which saw billions of U.S. aid poured into Europe to help rebuild its economies and institutions after the Second World War. But the G8 nations want the money this time around to come out of multilateral financial institutions like the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. Canada hasn’t ruled out extending bilateral assistance of its own accord but officials are billing whatever agreement is reached as broader in scope than just cash.”

LIBYA: And the Canadian Press says, “NATO involvement in Libya is one of the other topics up for discussion. Earlier this week, Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron pledged to keep pummelling Gadhafi’s forces until he is driven from power. France, meanwhile, has been pushing for a more robust military approach as government and rebel forces have dug in their heels. The UN-backed mission began as an effort to protect civilians, but has since morphed into a ferocious assault on targets in Tripoli in an attempt to drive Gadhafi from power.”