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France – Australia: Pacific Times Ahead

  • November 27th, 2008
  • Posted by EUEditor

filhol-michel-2008.jpgThe days of squabbling over trade and Pacific islands, between France and Australia, have been pronounced dead by the new French Ambassador, Michel Filhol.

france-logo.gifThe Ambassador on a visit to States and Territories said in Brisbane (25.11.08) relations were now marked by “convergence” on main issues; they had moved “from a mind-set of litigation to a spirit of cooperation”.That had resulted firstly from a settlement of tensions in the South Pacific, with the ending of former policies on nuclear testing, and calm in New Caledonia.

The Matignon Accord which had set out a plan for New Caledonia in the early 1990s, had the wisdom of being a settlement “which did not make decisions” – and the territory was moving peacefully towards elections in the coming few years.

The Ambassador said the positions of Australia and France, in fact the whole European Union were converging since the EU began reforming its Common Agricultural policy.

The system based on paying for food production had shifted towards social purposes, including support for development of regions, innovation, and defence of the environment; making for less discord with Australia and its economic allies over trade.

The European Union was giving very high priority to measures against climate change, emphasising its goal of 20% reduction in carbon emissions over a twenty year period; and it was looking to partner countries like Australia to make similar plans, promising to take the target up to 30%, if enough other governments joined in.

Ties were strengthened also by the joint participation of Australia and France in the anti-terrorist operations in Afghanistan.

Mr Filhol, who arrived in Australia in July, was speaking as a guest of the Australian Council for Europe.

Picture: Michel Filhol