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MEMO/11/579

Canberra, 5 September 2011

Meeting between Prime Minister of Australia, Julia Gillard, and President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso

Prime Minister Julia Gillard and European Commission President José Manuel Barroso emphasised the new phase of closer cooperation between Australia and the European Union (EU), during bilateral talks in Canberra on 5 September 2011.

Prime Minister Gillard and President Barroso underlined the shared values and strong cultural, historical and people-to-people links between Australia and Europe. They also noted the depth of the economic relationship, with EU Member States as a group being Australia’s largest source of foreign investment and EU companies creating some 500,000 jobs in Australia. They affirmed the commitment of Australia and the EU to work together on major global challenges and to cooperate in international forums such as the UN, the G20 and the World Trade Organization (WTO).

They pledged to strengthen and position the Australia-EU partnership for the long term. To that end, they looked forward to starting negotiations in the very near future on a broad-ranging, treaty-level bilateral agreement, noting this would provide an overarching framework for joint action in areas such as foreign and security policy, development cooperation, trade and investment, climate change and environment, research, science, innovation and education.

Prime Minister Gillard and President Barroso exchanged views on major international developments, including the democratic transitions in North Africa and the Middle East and economic trends in the Asia-Pacific region. They agreed on the importance of supporting Libya in its democratic transition and economic reconstruction, together with the international community.

They also exchanged views on the global economy, including recent developments in financial markets, and reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen economic cooperation in international fora. Looking towards the G20 summit in Cannes, they affirmed the importance of vigorously pursuing the G20’s work to achieve strong, sustainable and balanced growth, strengthen the international monetary system and continue financial regulatory reform, which will contribute to addressing the causes of the current vulnerabilities and preventing future crises.

They reaffirmed their strong commitment to free trade and investment and opposition to protectionist trade actions. They agreed it was imperative to sustain and advance economic reform and trade liberalisation, including through the conclusion of the WTO Doha Round.

Prime Minister Gillard and President Barroso also stressed their joint responsibility in addressing climate change, and the need for urgent action by the international community to keep global average temperature increases below two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. They committed to working together to promote an ambitious global regime to combat climate change through the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. They welcomed each other’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, noting the importance of market mechanisms to reducing carbon emissions at the lowest possible cost and stimulating investment, competitiveness and innovation in clean energy.

Noting the European Union has had an emissions trading scheme since 2005, and the Australian Government plans to introduce a carbon price mechanism from 1 July 2012, they agreed that both sides had a strong mutual interest in working to expand and deepen global carbon markets. They agreed to establish Senior Officials Talks to exchange experience on design and implementation and to address cooperation on economy-to-economy measures, including the conditions which would allow for linking of our emissions trading schemes at an appropriate point in the future.

Prime Minister Gillard and President Barroso welcomed progress in the following areas:

Building on the strong development cooperation relationship, Prime Minister Gillard and President Barroso welcomed the establishment of delegated cooperation arrangements for aid delivery and looked forward to the implementation of this agreement in developing countries. Delivering programs on each other’s behalf will enable AusAID and EuropeAid to capitalise on each others’ expertise, including in the Pacific, Asia and Africa, and deliver significant aid outcomes for developing countries. This demonstrates the convergence of values and deep trust that unite Australia and the EU on development issues and, more generally, in the wider international arena.

Noting the significant contribution both sides have made to nuclear safeguards, they were pleased to sign a new agreement between Australia and the European Atomic Energy Community (EURATOM), which will spur a further deepening of cooperation in the areas of nuclear safeguards, security and safety.

They welcomed the entry into force of an agreement on the exchange of classified information, as well as the progress towards an agreement on the exchange of air passenger name record (PNR) data. These accords will allow for even closer cooperation in combating terrorism and serious transnational crime, in the full respect of individual human rights.

They welcomed increased cooperation in education, training and culture, which would be reflected in the future Framework Agreement. To further deepen educational links, Australia and the EU agreed to work together to develop joint degree projects, which will bolster current work on projects to foster student mobility. These projects will complement the ongoing EU-Australia policy dialogue on education and training. Noting the importance of cultural exchange, the EU was pleased to include Australia as a partner country for cultural cooperation projects in its Culture Programme in 2013.

Australia and the EU will follow up on all these engagements through high-level dialogue at the political and officials levels.


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