Enhancing Nova Scotia's trade links and encouraging foreign investment will highlight Premier Stephen McNeil's trade mission to Europe from June 18-26.
England, Scotland, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany are part of the eight-day agenda that will focus on strengthening trade relationships, promoting the offshore and encouraging investment in Nova Scotia.
"Nova Scotia companies already do a lot of business with Europe, and we want that to grow more in the future," said Premier McNeil. "As just one example, Nova Scotia's offshore has the potential to drive economic development and job growth."
A full slate of industry meetings will focus on improving access by air and transportation links, shipping and logistics activities, oil and gas development, and opportunities to increase investment in Nova Scotia.
MLA Joachim Stroink, chair of the legislature's standing committee on economic development, will accompany the premier on the trip.
"A few years ago, we were looking to expand outside of the United Kingdom. Once we learned about Nova Scotia, its workforce, strategic location and time zone, we knew it was the perfect location for us," said David Walsh, chief operating officer of Frontier Developments plc. "European companies looking to expand to North American should put Nova Scotia on their radar."
While in Belgium, Premier McNeil will pay respects to soldiers who distinguished themselves in battle during the First World War, laying wreaths at the Nova Scotia Highlanders monument at Passchendaele, at Menin Gate in Ypres, and at the graves of Pte. George Lawrence Price of Port Williams, Kings Co., and Victoria Cross recipient Pte. James Peter Robertson of Stellarton. Lt.-Col. Philip Eric Bent of Halifax, also a Victoria Cross recipient, will also be remembered.
On June 19, Premier McNeil will meet with Gordon Campbell, Canada's High Commissioner to the United Kingdom in London. The London leg of the visit will include meetings with Britain's Minister for International Security Strategy, and executives of British Petroleum, which recently made a $1-billion work commitment in Nova Scotia's offshore.
Meetings with local business leaders and elected officials in Amsterdam and The Hague will be followed by a meeting with executives of Royal Dutch Shell, another major player in Nova Scotia's offshore with a commitment of close to $1 billion, and plans to drill the first well as early as 2015.
Ways to enhance air travel and tourism between Nova Scotia and Scotland will be explored during meetings in Edinburgh. Nova Scotia's Energy Minister Andrew Younger will join a meeting with Scotland's Minister of Energy Fergus Ewing.
The premier will travel to Aberdeen for an industry event focused on offshore development. Sponsored by Cox Palmer, Deloitte and Simmons and Company International, the event will bring together participants with an interest in Nova Scotia's offshore potential. It will also promote links with Nova Scotia businesses to enhance their ability to benefit from resource development.
The visit to Europe will conclude in Hamburg, one of Europe's major ports. The premier will explore the port facilities and discuss ways to build links between Hamburg and the Port of Halifax.