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European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen speaks at the EU headquarters, in Brussels, Belgium, on March 23, 2022.Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

The head of the European Union says Canada should focus on exporting clean hydrogen to Europe as the continent shifts its fuel sources away from Russia.

In an e-mail interview with The Canadian Press, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen says Canada could also broaden its exports of liquefied natural gas as an interim step.

Von der Leyen will arrive in Canada this evening and her visit to Ottawa and Kingston, Ont., on Tuesday will focus on clean energy, trade and support for Ukraine.

In the interview, von der Leyen says the EU’s trade deal with Canada is a way of shoring up ties with allies in a turbulent world.

She also defends the EU’s new rules that will require forestry imports to include a geolocation, which Canada argues will make it more complicated to export timber but which the EU says will promote sustainable practices.

Tuesday’s visit had been planned to occur last fall but was postponed due to the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

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