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Top Diplomat On EU-UK-Australia

  • May 5th, 2011
  • Posted by 7thmin

madden-paul.jpegBritain’s  newly appointed High Commissioner to Australia, Paul Madden, says the cultural ties between the two countries are underscored by a firm reality, that one in 20 Australians have a British passport.

Mr Madden has links of his own to Australia and its near region: personally, through two Aunts who went out to Australia as migrants; and professionally, having had diplomatic appointments in Singapore, where he was last High Commissioner, and in Japan.

A youthful 52, he was appointed to Canberra in January this year, going soon after to Queensland to support flood relief and the rebuilding campaign.

Returning for a visit in more normal times, this week, he gave a reminder, in Brisbane (3.5.11), that business between Australia and Britain continued to be the main component of two-way trade and investment with the European Union – as an entity Australia’s largest partner.

See EUAustralia Online: “World visitors see disaster recovery”, 8.4.11; “Brits mind relations in Asia-Pacific”, 19.1.11.

EUAustralia asked if well-known cultural resistance in the United Kingdom, to the European idea, was a hindrance to its collaboration with its EU partners.

“It’s not a deep division”, he said.

“People in Britain do feel part of Europe, but they also feel strong ties in other directions too. Many people have family or business connections to countries like Australia, Canada and the United States.

“As to the extent of our commitments, Britain has a very strong record for  implementing EU legislation. That’s why we have a reputation for scrutinising  new EU legislation very carefully before signing up to it.

“Certainly some people in the UK , particularly in my parents’ generation,  can still talk about ‘going to Europe’ for a holiday, while for somebody else, say in Belgium, being ‘in Europe’ is more usual.

“However, many new connections have been made.

“There are now about one million Brits living in Spain alone, mostly in retirement there.”

Earlier in his diplomatic career Mr Madden worked on EU Environmental issues and European Enlargement, at the time the expansionist 1992 Maastricht Treaty was first being implemented.

He has a Cambridge MA and MBA from Durham University, and is the author of a book about Sir Stamford Raffles as a business leader.

He and his wife Sarah have three children.

The High Commissioner was speaking at a joint function of the English Speaking Union and the Australian Council for Europe.