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EU-Australia Up-grade Joint Activities

  • November 13th, 2008
  • Posted by EUEditor

bruno-julien-reduced.jpgThe Australian government and the European Union declared they wanted a table of measurable goals and results, not just friendly phrases, when they drew up their new partnership agreement (See EUAustralia, Australia-EU Deal Signed, 30.10.08).

That was the main achievement of the day that it was signed, in Paris on 29.10.08, according to the European Commission Ambassador engaged in getting the agreement made, Bruno Julien.

ACTIONS LOUDER THAN WORDS

Mr Julien this month made a farewell tour at the end of a term in office as Ambassador to Australia and New Zealand, marked by moves towards increasing cooperation in many fields – including the recent financial crisis, development aid cooperation in the Pacific, and research as a foundation for the new world economy.

The agreement had been negotiated initially with the former government, and then was picked up by the new Rudd Government, which showed a stronger interest in multi-lateral dealings among countries, and more direct links with the Brussels-based EU.

He said the Australian-EU Framework agreement would be used to set up outcomes to be achieved.

“Yes we should be able to get more done; it will be not only more flexible, but more efficient, to have not only ‘blah-blah’, words in a declaration, but common action”, he told an audience at Brisbane’s Queensland University of Technology, (6.11.08).

Joint action was being organised on trade, cooperation in science, and climate change, where the two sides had pledged to push on with implementing the Kyoto Protocol, and setting up new terms of agreement after it expires in 2012.

The document noted that climate change was set to have impacts on international security in the longer term and cause additional stress in already fragile or conflict prone areas.

It wanted further moves to enhance energy security and improving the competitiveness and transparency of global energy markets.

EDUCATION AND SCIENCE – WELCOME TO JOIN

The European Union, through its “Lisbon Process” (for “jobs and growth”), was putting sudden emphases on research for industry, boosting its research outlays by 50% on present performance towards a goal of 3% of GDP.

It was looking for partnerships such as links with Australian research centres on the environment, water resources, energy, or medical science and nanotechnology.

Education was being classed as “fundamental for growth and competitiveness”, for knowledge-based economies; an aspect was the harmonising of courses and diplomas in the higher education field, and expansion of student and academic exchanges, within the EU and with countries outside.

“You are welcome in that process; education and research, with a general social policy, will be a fundamental, pillar for long-term competitiveness of our economies”, said Ambassador Bruno Julien.

PACIFIC PARTNERSHIPS

Europe has stepped up its engagements in economic development aid for the South Pacific, acting more closely with Australia and New Zealand.

The Ambassador said he had this year coordinated the start of tripartite meetings, in Canberra, which would take place on at least an annual basis, “to frame future relations on development.”

He had also brought together the European Union’s five Pacific area Heads of Delegation, to talk through development strategies, at Brussels, where Australian and New Zealand representatives joined in.

On the military take-over in Fiji, the European side had decided to move in step with decisions of the Pacific forum, representing countries of the region.

“We are following Fiji very carefully”, he said.

The European Union had imposed pressure for a return to democratic government, through its policy of aid to the Fijian sugar industry.

It would not comment on a recent high court decision declaring the coup d’etat in that country to have been legal, until after an appeal was heard against that decision.

Reference:

Delegation of the European Commission to Australia and New Zealand, “New EU-Australia Partnership Framework endorsed …”, Canberra, 29.10.08.
http://www.delaus.ec.europa.eu/News&events/releases/2008/PartnershipFramework.htm, (13.11.08).

European Union – Australia Partnership framework, text, 29.10.08. http://www.delaus.ec.europa.eu/eu_and_australia/PartnershipFramework/index.htm, (13.11.08).

Picture:

Ambassador Bruno Julien in Brisbane, 6.11.08.

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