The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop, launched the EU-Australia Leadership Forum in Canberra following the initial launch in Brussels last month. The forum will play an integral role in the future of the EU-Australia relationship and will focus on collaboration on a wide range of topics including trade, counter-terrorism, innovation, climate action and foreign affairs.
The EU's Ambassador to Australia, Sem Fabrizi, said the Leadership Forum would provide a platform for leaders from politics, business, media, NGOs, think tanks and academia from both countries to collaborate on new ideas to promote and deepen the EU-Australia relationship.
“The Leadership Forum comes at a crucial point in the EU-Australia relationship, with a Framework Agreement set to be signed at the earliest opportunity and the possibility of free trade negotiations starting next year,” Ambassador Fabrizi said. "The EU and Australia are close and likeminded partners, already benefitting from high levels of cooperation and committed to promoting prosperity and security together in a rules-based international system."
The EU Australia Leadership Forum will be advised by a Multistakeholder Steering Committee which is chaired by EU Ambassador to Australia H.E. Sem Fabrizi and a welcome message at the launch was also played from President Emeritus of the Jacques Delors Institue Pascal Lamy.
Foreign Minister Bishop joined the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, in Brussels last month to officially launch the leadership forum. The EU-Australia relationship is based on shared values and a common commitment to the rule of law, global norms and support for international stability and security.
The EU-Australia Leadership Forum is funded by the EU and will be held alternately in Australia and in Europe, with the inaugural Senior Leaders & Emerging Leaders Forum to be hosted in Australia in the first half of 2017. The Leadership Forum will be complemented by regular sectoral policy workshops covering topics including security, counter terrorism, trade, education, innovation, migration and development.