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Australia-EU Links Stronger than Ever: Ambassador …

  • May 28th, 2013
  • Posted by Editor EUAustralia

David Daly 2 REDUCED

The European Union Ambassador, David Daly, ending his term after five years in Australia, has spoken of the ANZAC tradition as a link to a peaceful Europe thanks to its new unity; economic strength even in time of adversity; and growing links, marked by next month’s delegation to the EU to be headed by the Governor General.

 

ANZAC AND “NEW EUROPE”

The following is the text of his message, delivered in an address to the Diplomatic Corps in Canberra on 5.5.13, Europe Day; and transmitted also to a Europe Day event for the Australian Council for Europe at Brisbane.

Three weeks ago I attended my 5th Anzac Day commemorations in Canberra – the Dawn Service and the military parade. As always, it made me feel both sad and proud; sad because of the terrible tragedy of war; proud, because of the new Europe which we have since created – one which has not required Anzacs to return in their tens of thousands for a third cataclysmic war engulfing Europe.

Today we celebrate that new Europe we have created.

Sixty-three years ago, on 9 May 1950, the French Foreign Minister, Robert Schuman, invited the other countries of Europe to join in a process of closer integration going beyond the usual type of cooperation between countries; in this cooperation the countries would agree to give up the purely national management of an important economic sector – the iron, coal and steel sector – in favour of a common management with commonly agreed rules and common, supranational, independent institutions to ensure fair play.

ZONE OF PEACE

This was part of a step by step approach towards creating a new Europe in which an ever closer integration between countries would replace the tragic wars which had dogged the continent every 50 years or so, going back through the centuries.

From this starting point European integration has developed into the European Union we have today – an area of peace, freedom and prosperity encompassing over 500 million people across 27 countries – soon 28 when Croatia joins; the world’s largest trader and donor of foreign development assistance, and increasingly an actor in security issues across the globe.

This is the European Union which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize last year, precisely for its overwhelming success  as a peace and reconciliation process. This experience is part of what the EU brings to the world.

ECONOMIC CRISIS

A word about the economic crisis in some European countries:

Over the past few years I have seen many doom and gloom headlines about Europe, the EU and the Euro. Yes, it is true to say that there are great challenges facing the EU and certain European countries. But it is equally true to say that the EU has put in place fundamental building blocks for a much stronger system for our common currency – the Euro.

Europe is still a big player and it is not going to evaporate from the global stage. On the contrary, deeper integration, partly in response to the crisis, is making the EU a stronger partner for Australia and others around the world.

On the foreign policy front, since 2009 the High Representative Cathy Ashton has led the European External Action Service (EEAS) to this purpose. Over the past three and a half years, we have created a diplomatic service for the 21st  century. Through its work, the EU is able to promote its values and interests around the world. This too makes Europe a stronger partner for Australia and others.

AUSTRALIA-EU DEALINGS

A few words about the EU-Australia bilateral relationship.

This is my fifth year in Australia and I am happy to report that the Australia-EU bilateral relationship continues to go from strength to strength

Much has been done, but there is much more to look forward to!

Over recent years we have seen a record number of political visits between Australia and the EU: from Australian Prime Ministers going to Brussels, to the President of the European Commission, the HRVP and other European Commissioners visiting Australia; not to mention the increasing number of visits from EU Member States’ Ministers.

GOVERNOR GENERAL’S DELEGATION

 

Quentin BryceBut there is more to look forward to: next month the Governor General of Australia, H.E. Quentin Bryce will pay the first ever visit of an Australian Governor General to the EU Institutions; but, it is a double first because it will also be the first time that a Governor General has headed a business delegation – in this case with the support of the Australian Government.

Over recent years we have broadened our EU-Australia dialogue into many new areas: strategic security issues, macro-financial issues, climate change and higher education, to name but a very few.

But again there is more to look forward to: Australia is now a member of the UN Security Council: next year Australia will host the G20 summit in Brisbane – special congratulations to Brisbane – the chairmanship of which it will assume in September. These new roles being played by Australia enrich further the quality of our dialogues.

Over recent years we have negotiated important bilateral agreements: the Wine Agreement and the Passenger Name Records Agreement are two.  The agreement on enabling the EU and Australia to implement each other’s development aid projects is especially important both in Fiji, where AusAid will implement an EU project in the educational sector, and in South Sudan, where the European Commission will implement an Australian project on food security.

MORE TO LOOK FORWARD TO

But, yet again, there is still more to look forward to: the Framework Agreement, which will upgrade the political relations further, is under negotiation: the Agreement to facilitate Australia’s participation in EU crisis management operations around the world is close to finalization.

All these things which we have done together over recent years, and all these things to which we look forward, have been facilitated by the fact of our likemindedness, based on our common values.

However, there is more to it than that.

These concrete achievements also represent the furtherance of our respective interests, both Australian and European. We can help each other meet our respective interests through working together bilaterally, or at the UN, or in the G20, or at the WTO.

To conclude; often our images of the past are in black and white – maybe from old faded photos, or old news-reels in black and white. Indeed, there was a time when the EU-Australia relationship too was looked at in black and white terms – when agricultural trade issues dominated the agenda.

However, today’s, and tomorrow’s, EU-Australia bilateral relationship is multi-faceted. It no longer comes in a black and white version: it only comes in bright technicolor and in 3-D!

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