Flaherty says European economic problems keep him up at night

HALIFAX – With rumours that a trade deal may be close between Canada and the European Union, federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty told an audience in Halifax that he remains worried about the economy in the world’s largest market.

Speaking following a dinner hosted by the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies, Flaherty says the European economy is still in recession and doesn’t look like it’s about to “leap out.”

He says he has kept his eye on serious housing bubbles in Ireland and Spain and says Canada has taken its own steps to avoid a similar problem.

As for whether a trade deal is close, Flaherty wouldn’t comment.

But he cautioned the agricultural sector is always a big issue in trade talks, saying it’s something that always comes up at the beginning, the middle and at the end of negotiations.

Flaherty says most countries including Canada have protectionist measures in place and will have to deal with them over time if global free trade is going to be accomplished.