The European Union and Australia are like-minded partners with many common challenges. The Indo-Pacific is a strategic area of engagement for the EU, and an economic growth engine we must not ignore. Still, the way in which the AUKUS deal was done and the French submarine deal terminated is not reassuring EU-Australia relations. Nevertheless, despite tensions, dialogue must continue and engagement on win-win solutions must prevail.
I believe that trade is built on mutually beneficial solutions, but sadly, the world we are finding ourselves in is increasingly a world built on power relations and zero-sum game. Trade must remain our tool for bringing new life into a rules-based international arena, and so I continue to be a strong supporter of trade agreements as the basic elements of EU external action, including with Australia. Our businesses do need increased market access and a level playing field on important markets in the Indo-Pacific. I will remain a supporter of open and sustainable trade, and I see Australia as a real partner with great potential in this important quest that will aid our post-pandemic recovery, facilitating economic growth, job creation and innovation
These were the main messages I delivered at a conference organized by the European Australian Business Council – EABC, in partnership with Cambre Associates, which focused on EU-Australia relations, sustainable recovery and roadmaps to 2050. Participants at the EABC conference included Director of Multilateral Affairs of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Trade, Ignacio Garcia Bercero, Trent Zimmerman, Member of the Australian Parliament, Michael Pulch, EU Ambassador to Canberra, as well as Ambassadors of several EU Member States to Australia.