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José Manuel Durão Barroso

President of the European Commission

Statement by President Barroso following his meeting with Julia Gillard, Prime Minister of Australia

Joint press point

Brussels, 4 October 2010

Good morning, Ladies and gentlemen,

I am very pleased that Prime Minister Julia Gillard has come to Brussels immediately after her election to participate in the ASEM Summit that enable us to have this first bilateral meeting. I congratulate Prime Minister Guillard for her election and I wish her and Australia all the best.

This is also an occasion to welcome Australia's entry into ASEM, the ASEM process. The European Union has very much supported this process.

The European Union has been Australia's largest trade and investment partner for more than 25 years now. But our relationship goes well beyond trade. We have also very useful dialogues on global challenges such as development cooperation - especially in the Pacific - or energy security, or climate change.

Prime Minister Gillard has made proposals to develop further the EU-Australia relationship. I welcome this initiative and I will examine those proposals in detail, consulting Member States. Let me tell you on my own behalf, on behalf of the European Commission that we very much support the idea of giving more important expression to the relationship between Australia and the European Union.

As partners in the G20, we have discussed financial and economic governance and the need to cooperate in multilateral fora. We also discussed briefly climate change, in advance of the meeting in Cancun. We agree that we have a common interest in strengthening our ability to deal with these challenges.

We will continue to work with Australia on this comprehensive agenda. And I thank again Prime Minister Gillard for her partnership on these important matters.

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