European Union Head of Delegation to Australia, His Excellency David Daly: 'EU as an International Partner for Australia'
EU is a player on the world stage
The EU has 27 member countries and a population of over 500m, some 7% of global population. The EU is the world's largest integrated economy, representing some 22% of global GDP; it is the world's largest trader, importer and exporter (20% of global goods exports and of global goods imports and 30% of services and incomes transfers). This economic weight makes the EU a key player in international economic discussions whether at the WTO or in the G20.
The EU, together with its 27 Member countries, provide for around 60% of all development aid given globally. This means a strong European voice in international discussions on how to organize global aid more effectively.
Over time the EU has evolved in terms of what it does; today it has a common foreign and security policy which means the EU has a clear voice on international issues and it has tools to intervene on the ground where appropriate. The EU has, for example, put soldiers on the ground to help stabilization in the Balkans, or to protect Darfur refugees in Chad as a holding operation while the UN organized its peace-keeping force.
For these reasons, and more, the EU is today an important voice in the world.
EU-Australia developing a relationship based on shared values
The countries of Europe have seen that they get better results when they tackle many problems together rather than on their own; this is a process and it also explains why new issues have drifted to the EU level over time.
Similarly, the EU recognizes that there are truly global issues which neither Europe, nor the US, nor other countries individually can resolve on our own e.g. climate change, global poverty, international security and terrorism and others. The EU sees the need to work together with partners around the world to address these issues properly.
When looking around the world for partners to work with the EU naturally sees Australia as a country which shares many of the same values and interests of the EU. This is the starting point for the strong EU-Australia bilateral relationship.
EU-Australia Partnership Framework - a new tool for the developing relationship
Not so long ago, we gave ourselves a new political tool to help develop the EU-Australia relationship - the EU-Australia Partnership Framework. IT foresees increased cooperation across 5 areas; foreign and security policy; trade; development in Asia-Pacific; climate change, transport, fisheries and other sectoral policies; and education, science, research and technology.
Some highlights from some of these areas:
· we jointly fund the Jakarta Centre for Law Enforcement, a strong support to Indonesia's counter-terrorism efforts;
· we work very closely on development in the Pacific region where the EU is the second biggest donor after Australia;
· we have close contacts on climate change and we are negotiating a new air services agreement;
· on trade, the EU and Australia are at the forefront of trying to conclude the Doha Round of WTO trade negotiations.
EU is Australia's no.1 Economic partner (Trade and investment)
The EU is Australia's biggest economic partner overall, taking trade and investment flows into account; in 2009 these amounted to A$114bn, some 20% of Australia's external trade and investment flows.
With trade of A$77bn, 15% of all Australian trade, the EU is Australia's largest trading partner after China.
The EU is the biggest foreign investor in Australia with an investment stock of A$1005bn, 35% of all foreign investment here (US 27% 2009 stock). This investment results in 500,000 jobs directly and 1.4m Australian jobs directly and indirectly.
EU role in the Middle East Peace Process
The EU and Israel are solid partners based on our common, long-standing cultural, historic and economic ties. We have an Association Agreement, a high level political agreement which regulates our bilateral relationship and which accords preferential tariff treatment for exports from Israel.
The EU has long urged both parties to engage in direct talks and we welcome the fact that they have recently started. HR Ashton has congratulated PM Netanyahu and President Abbas for their vision and political courage, as well as commending the efforts deployed by the US. The EU, as a member of the Quartet, will continue to support the direct negotiations; they should focus on all final status issues and be accomplished within one year.
Direct talks are not in themselves a guarantee of success; there are people who wish to spoil any peace process. The EU condemned in the strongest possible terms the recent killing of 4 Israeli citizens near Hebron. We know that the moratorium on settlement construction is a difficult issue.
The EU is employing its experience and instruments to help in this process, together with our other Quartet partners (EU, US, UN and Russia).
I hope I have given you an insight into the EU in the world, in particular as regards Australia, with a few words on EU-Israeli relations as well.