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The High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, Federica Mogherini and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Winston Peters met in Wellington today. They reaffirmed the close and long-standing relations between New Zealand and the European Union. The partnership is defined by a shared commitment to the same fundamental values, including human rights, democracy and the rule of law.
The meeting underscored the strong value that the European Union and New Zealand place on each other as likeminded and reliable partners in a changing and uncertain global environment. High Representative/Vice-President Mogherini and Foreign Minister Peters agreed to continue to jointly promote and defend the international rules based system, which underpins our shared security and prosperity.
They took stock of the excellent state of our bilateral relations and agreed that the close cooperation on a broad range of global issues, including international peace and security, sustainable development in the Pacific, combating climate change, and advancing human rights, non-proliferation of the weapons of mass destruction and counterterrorism, brings benefits to citizens of the European Union and New Zealand and beyond. The various strands of our dynamic relationship are captured in our Partnership Agreement on Relations and Cooperation, the inaugural meeting of which took place in February this year.
The High Representative/Vice-President and the Foreign Minister welcomed the launch of negotiations towards an EU-NZ Free Trade Agreement, the first round of which took place in Brussels in July. The agreement, when concluded, will send a powerful message about our collective commitment to open, rules based trade and help us to fully realise the potential in our trade and economic relations.
New Zealand and the EU will continue to work closely together in helping build peace and prosperity in the Asian region, including through the ASEAN Regional Forum and the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM). The EU will host the next ASEM Summit in Brussels in October. New Zealand appreciated the EU's increasing engagement with ASEAN and welcomed the EU's ambition to deepen its engagement in the South East Asia security architecture.
They reiterated their commitment to strengthening coordination and collaboration in the Pacific region, including with regard to development cooperation. Minister Peters emphasised the value and importance of EU’s ongoing presence and development cooperation in the region, which plays a crucial role in improving peoples' livelihoods and encouraging sustainable socio-economic development. High Representative/Vice-President Mogherini welcomed New Zealand’s Pacific Reset, which recognises that Pacific Island countries are facing complex and evolving challenges in areas such as maritime security and safety, climate change, environment, disaster risk reduction and sustainable development.
High Representative/Vice-President Mogherini and Foreign Minister Peters reaffirmed the value of continued close cooperation in the United Nations and other international and regional forums. They agreed to further enhance this cooperation in relation to human rights issues through regular dialogue and through the establishment of annual consultations.
They discussed shared security challenges such as terrorism, hostile cyber activity and threats to the international rules based order, and how we could work together better to tackle these challenges in the future. They also exchanged views on possible cooperation in crisis management operations around the world through the EU/NZ Framework Participation Agreement.
With climate change threatening to undermine economic growth and sustainable development, and presenting a growing threat to security and safety, both as a driver of instability and through increasing natural disasters, they agreed to work together bilaterally and through the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to combat climate change, including through reaching agreement on fair, transparent and effective rules for implementation of the Paris Agreement at COP24 in December.
The High Representative/Vice-President and the Foreign Minister discussed significant foreign policy issues, including the situation on the Korean Peninsula, the conflict in eastern Ukraine and the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation, and efforts for peace in Afghanistan. They reiterated their strong support for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – the Iran nuclear deal - which is a key pillar of the nuclear non-proliferation architecture. It has been unanimously endorsed by the UN Security Council Resolution 2231 and has made and continues to make a vital contribution to regional peace and security .They regretted the US decision to withdraw from the JCPOA. Minister Peters expressed his thanks to High Representative/Vice-President Mogherini for the EU’s ongoing work to maintain it.