Second EU-Australia Joint Committee highlights concrete steps forward in the bilateral partnership
Australia and the European Union held the second meeting of the Joint Committee established by their bilateral Framework Agreement in Brussels on 24 June 2019.
The Joint Committee agreed further work in a number of areas, reflecting a strong forward agenda. The positive and practical outcomes demonstrate the scale of the shared values and common interests of Australia and the EU.
Reflecting the central importance of the international rules and norms for both parties, Australia and the EU discussed ways to work together at the United Nations and in other multilateral and regional forums, including the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM). The Joint Committee confirmed Australia's and the EU's commitment to the full implementation of the Paris Agreement as part of global efforts to take action on climate change. The Committee looks forward to a successful meeting of the UN Climate Action Summit in September 2019. The Joint Committee welcomed the implementation of the EU-Australia Framework Agreement for participation in crisis management operations, and highlighted the recent deployment of an Australian humanitarian expert to the EU Advisory Mission in Iraq.
Following up on recent discussions at senior officials' level, the Joint Committee highlighted common interests and views on security challenges, notably in addressing measures to counter foreign interference, terrorism and violent extremism.
The Joint Committee noted a shared interest in stability and prosperity in Asia and the Pacific, with Australia underlining the broader importance of the Indo-Pacific region for global affairs. The Joint Committee emphasised the shared commitment to working with Pacific island countries to build resilience, noting the importance of ongoing regular exchanges and cooperation on development. The Committee agreed to continue supporting Pacific island countries, in line with their development priorities.
The Joint Committee also discussed progress in negotiations towards a comprehensive and ambitious free trade agreement that supports the EU and Australia's joint commitment to rules-based trade. Multilaterally, Australia and the EU will continue to work together to promote progress on WTO reform, including in the G20. The Committee meeting also presented the opportunity to discuss shared interests and cooperation in science, research and innovation, including on the digital economy and through our respective space activities.
The Joint Committee agreed to establish a bilateral dialogue on the digital economy. It also discussed the benefit of enhancing the dialogue on other issues, including on transport and on Earth observation in the Pacific.
The EU delegation was led by 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.