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Australia – EU Deal Signed

  • October 30th, 2008
  • Posted by EUEditor

eu-australia-flag.jpgThe new Australia – European Union Partnership Agreement announced last April has been signed in Paris.

The Foreign Minister there, Bernard Kouchner, representing the French Presidency of the European Council, received his visiting Australian counterpart, Stephen Smith.

The agreement was foreshadowed by the Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, at Brussels last April.

At the time he said it would range over several topics, including: collaboration to assist South Pacific countries with development, action on terrorism, work on saving the environment, and joint efforts to revive global trade negotiations. (See EUAustralia, “Be Partners and Cut Farm Protection, says Rudd”, 3.4.08).

CO-OPERATION ON FINANCIAL CRISIS

The French newsagency AFP saw the agreement as a vehicle for achieving concurrence on handling the international financial crisis:

“Kouchner said after meeting Smith that they were in ‘complete agreement’ on a range of international issues, from Asia-Pacific to the Middle East and Africa, including the unrest in Democratic Republic of Congo.

“Both said the French EU Presidency and Australia had agreed to coordinate positions ahead of the November 15 meeting of the Group of 20 current and emerging powers in Washington to tackle the financial crisis.

“‘We were completely on board together on the economic crisis’, Kouchner said.”

AUSTRALIA’S “MIDDLE-POWER” STANCE

The following is a statement from the Australian Minister:

“I met with my French counterpart, Mr Bernard Kouchner, today in Paris (29.10.08) and launched the attached Australia-European Union (EU) Partnership Framework in Paris. The launch was the centrepiece of the regular Australia-EU Presidency Consultations. France currently holds the EU’s rotating Presidency.

“The Australia-EU Partnership Framework is a major initiative under the third pillar of the Government’s foreign policy which commits Australia to working with like-minded countries, using creative middle-power diplomacy, to strengthen international institutions and address global challenges.

“The Partnership Framework is the prime vehicle for taking forward the new era of creative, broad-based bilateral engagement announced in the 2 April Joint Statement issued by Prime Minister Rudd and European Commission President Barroso.

“The Partnership Framework is the third major outcome of the Joint Statement this year following the Australia-EU Passenger Name Record Agreement on cooperation in border security and the EU’s agreement to the negotiation of a Comprehensive Air Services Agreement with Australia.

“The Partnership Framework commits Australia and the EU to support the role of multilateral institutions, in particular the UN, including in counter-terrorism and non-proliferation.

SCOPE OF COLLABORATION

“The importance of trade issues in the relationship is emphasised because of a shared commitment to concluding the Doha Round and in recognition that the EU, as a bloc, is Australia’s largest trade and investment partner.

“Australia and the EU have agreed to work together in the Asia-Pacific region and, in particular, to improve donor coordination in the Pacific given the EU’s position as the world’s largest aid donor and the second largest donor in the Pacific after Australia.

“Agreement to cooperate on climate change, energy and environmental issues reflects Australia’s new standing in this area, following our ratification of the Kyoto Protocol.

“The Partnership Framework recognises that the EU, which accounts for half of the world’s research and development expenditure, is Australia’s leading partner in innovation, science and research activity.

“Australia looks forward to working closely with the EU to develop common approaches to addressing the broad range of important global and regional challenges identified in the Partnership Framework.

READ THE TEXT


Check the full text of the Australia – European Union Partnership Framework:

http://www.foreignminister.gov.au/releases/2008/fa-s163_eu_aust_partnership.html, (30.10.08)


Reference
:

“Australia – EU sign agreement on financial crisis”, AFP, Paris, 30.12.08

Stephen Smith, Foreign Minister, Australia – European Union Partnership Framework Launched, Media Release, Canberra, 29.10.08

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