The first meeting of the Joint Committee between the European Union and Australia was held in Canberra on 13 November 2018. The meeting provided for a strategic review of the bilateral partnership and assisted in identifying concrete actions to bring forward the ongoing cooperation.
The Joint Committee was established by the EU-Australia Framework Agreement, signed in 2017 and provisionally applied since 4 October 2018. The Agreement aims to strengthen bilateral relations and deepen cooperation in areas of mutual interest. Combined with ongoing negotiations for a comprehensive and ambitious EU-Australia free trade agreement, the Framework Agreement opens a new era in the bilateral relationship.
The Joint Committee discussed bilateral political and security cooperation on a number of issues like cyber threats and counter-terrorism, crisis management, migration and consular cooperation.
The EU and Australia are like-minded partners engaged in defending the rules based international order and agreed to work closely together notably within the United Nations framework. In particular, both sides agreed to continue to work together on the effective implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate change.
Australia outlined its vision for an open, prosperous and inclusive Indo-Pacific region. Participants also discussed the need to work closely together in Asia and the Pacific on infrastructure development and connectivity. The EU and Australia agreed to continue working together on WTO reform.
The EU and Australia have been increasing their cooperation on research, and look forward to providing opportunities for researchers to work more closely together. The Joint Committee looked into the options for increasing space cooperation.
The Joint Committee reviewed cooperation on providing development assistance. Australia and the EU are already cooperating closely in the Pacific, where collaboration on projects is underway, including on gender equality.
The EU delegation was led by Mr Gunnar Wiegand, Managing Director of the Asia and Pacific Department of the European External Action Service. The Australian delegation was led by Cathy Raper, First Assistant Secretary for Europe and Latin America at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.