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New Platform for EU-Australia Relations

21 Sep 2016
By EU-Australia Leadership Forum
Photo Credit: AIIA

The EU and Australia reinforced their strong relationship earlier this month with the launch in Brussels of the EU-Australia Leadership Forum. Against the background of the ongoing EU-Australia free trade agreement negotiations and increasing international disorder, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and High Representative of the EU, Federica Mogherini spoke of the close history, culture and common values between Australia and the EU, as well as in their similar approaches to global challenges and opportunities.

The EU-Australia Leadership Forum (EUALF) is funded by the European Union and the three-year project will be led by the Australian Institute of International Affairs in cooperation with the German-Australian Chamber of Industry and Commerce and MWH Global, a Brussels-based consulting firm.

The forum aims to enrich existing ties between the EU and Australia with annual senior leaders and emerging leaders gatherings, as well as separate dialogues looking at security, counter-terrorism, trade, education macro-economic issues and development.

Film from the 8 September launch shows Bishop and Mogherini making their presentations, as well as a series of short interviews with leading participants from the EU and Australia.

EUALF Project Team Leader and AIIA National Executive Director Melissa Conley Tyler describes the what the forum will involve.

Former President of the European Council (2009-14), Herman Van Rompuy describes the many similarities between Australia and the European Union.

EU Ambassador to Australia, Sem Fabrizi presents the rationale and objectives of the project.

Australian Ambassador to the EU, NATO, Belgium and Luxembourg, Mark Higgie reflects upon the current state of the EU-Australia relationship.

The leadership forum shares the spirit of the official treaties bewteen the EU and Australia, but its most important contribution towards strengthening the EU-Australia relationship will be through people-to-people contacts and the passing of information from industry to industry and community to community. This exchange of knowledge and perspectives is at the core of the EUALF.

As the project advances, a set of publications will be produced, summarising the key findings of the forums for the benefit of decision-makers and members of the public in Australia and the EU..

More information on the project can be found on the EU-Australia Leadership Forum website at and on Facebook and Twitter (@EUAusForum).

This piece is written by Pauliina Parviainen. She is a graduate student at Lund University, Sweden, majoring in international relations and political science, but is currently an intern at the AIIA’s national office in Canberra and a researcher on the EU-Australia Leadership Forum team.