Expert Comment On Australian-european Relations

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6th October 2010, 02:30pm - Views: 954

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Expert comment on Australian-European relations –

Professor Bruce Wilson, Director of the European Union Centre at RMIT

University, is available for interview on Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s attendance at

the Asia-Europe meeting and the proposal for a Treaty with the European Union.

“The Prime Minister’s attendance at ASEM is a significant milestone in recognition

of Australia’s potential contribution to strengthening relationships amongst

European and Asian nations,” Professor Wilson said.

“From an Australian perspective, ASEM opens access to dialogue with leaders of

countries with 60 per cent of the world’s population, and 60 per cent of world trade.

“Prime Minister Gillard’s call for a Treaty with Europe not only makes good sense

politically, it can have important implications for enhancing Australia’s interests

Europe continues to be Australia’s most important trading partner and confirming

the foundations of a continuing relationship would only strengthen these ties. 

“It is estimated about 2,300 European companies operate in Australia, directly

employing some 400,000 Australians. 

“Since October 2008, Australia and the EU have shared a number of common

goals, articulated in the European Union-Australia Partnership Framework. 

“This addressed core issues of government policy related to foreign affairs and

security, trade, climate change, science and education, and the Asia-Pacific region,

and outlined a number of actions to be implemented immediately.

“The call for development of a Treaty enhances the status of the key initiatives

foreshadowed in the Partnership Agreement, and puts into perspective Trade

Minister Craig Emerson’s comments on Europe’s apparent ‘green’ protectionism’.

“It would be wrong to construe Europe’s policies on social and environmental

standards as simply an attempt to reimpose trade barriers.

“A commitment to rights and values was a key element of the Treaty of Lisbon,

adopted by the European Union last year. 

“Its Charter of Rights guarantees certain civil, political, economic and social rights,

while other clauses of the Treaty improve the EU’s ability to act in several policy

areas of major priority – including energy policy and climate change.”

The European Union Centre at RMIT is funded through a grant from the European

Union and RMIT University.

For interviews: RMIT University’s Professor Bruce Wilson, 0414 236 765.

For general media enquiries: RMIT University Communications, Gosia

Kaszubska, (03) 9925 3176 or 0417 510 735.


October, 2010

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