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The inaugural EU Australia Leadership Forum (EUALF) gathered up to 160 likeminded high level European and Australian participants in Sydney on 2-6 June.
The EUALF is funded by the European Union as a three year public diplomacy project with the overall aim to broaden and deepen the existing ties between the EU and Australia to help shape the vision for the partnership.
The Forum opened with a Gala Dinner at the Hilton in Sydney where Australia's Foreign Minister the Hon. Julie Bishop gave a passionate speech on the close ties Australia has with the EU and the leadership role both have to play in maintaining the Paris climate agreement.
The first day keynote speech was delivered by the Hon. Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells Minister for International Development and the Pacific, who lauded the Forum as a "clever, innovative approach to deepening" EU Australian ties. Minister Fierravanti-Wells set the tone for a day of talks on foreign policy, trade and was also presented with thoughts from the EUALF Emerging Leaders programme which had taken place two days prior to the Forum.
Minister for Finance the Hon. Senator Mathias Cormann spoke further on the investments between the EU and Australia. The 160 European and Australian leaders provided input and ideas to diversify and intensify the relationship in areas such as security, climate, energy and technology in order to foster sustainable change, development and peace.
EU Ambassador to Australia H.E. Sem Fabrizi officiated on the EUALF delivering an opening and closing address.
The Emerging Leaders taking part in the EU Australia Leadership Forum, 25 of them from Europe and 25 from Australia met in Sydney 2-4 June to participate in a series of workshops and brainstorming sessions. These were geared towards solutions and shared experiences which they then shared with the Senior Leaders of the EUALF on 5 June.
The European External Action Service's Deputy Secretary General of Political Affairs and Political Director Jean-Christophe Belliard delivered a keynote about the current crises in the world and how bringing together like-minded partners like the EU and Australia was now more important than ever on the first evening of the Emerging Leaders Forum. Deputy Secretary General Belliard travelled onto the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore following his visit to Australia.
Photos by: Andrew Murray for EU-Australia Leadership Forum