The European Union and Australia enjoy a strong, dynamic and continuously evolving partnership, the foundations of which were laid in the 1960s. The relationship is currently based on the 2008 European Union - Australia Partnership Framework, a comprehensive statement of shared values and close historical, political, economic and cultural ties. As our relationship evolved, the EU and Australia have moved to upgrade bilateral ties. To this end, on 7 August 2017 in Manila, the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini and Australia's then Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop signed the EU Australia Framework Agreement.
This Agreement (currently under provisional application pending the completion of ratification procedures underway in the EU and its Member States) builds on an existing solid cooperation basis and will enable the further promotion and expansion of relations across a broad range of areas of mutual interest, such as:
- Foreign policy & security issues at global and regional level
- International trade
- Development & humanitarian aid
- Migration & asylum
- Research & innovation
- Environment & climate change
- Education & culture
- Energy & transport
A number of mechanisms are already in place to foster cooperation, in particular a series of formal bilateral dialogues as well as several sectoral agreements, including:
- The 1994 Agreement Relating to Scientific and Technical Cooperation between the European Community and Australia (entered into force 25 July 1994);
- The 1998 Agreement on Mutual Recognition in relation to Conformity Assessment, Certificates and Markings between the European Community and Australia (entered into force 1 January 1999), amended in 2012;
- The 2008 Agreement between the European Community and Australia on Trade in Wine (entered into force 1 September 2010);
- The 2010 Agreement between the European Union and Australia on the Security of Classified Information (entered into force 1 July 2011);
- The 2011 Euratom-Australia Agreement for Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy (entered into force 1 January 2012);
- The 2012 Agreement between the European Union and Australia on the processing and transfer of Passenger Name Record (PNR) data by air carriers to the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (entered into force 1 June 2012);
- The 2015 Agreement between the European Union and Australia Establishing a Framework for the Participation of Australia in EU Crisis Management Operations (entered into force 1 October 2015).
The European Parliament and Australian Parliament also engage in ongoing and productive cooperation. In 1979, the European Parliament established a Delegation for Relations with Australia and New Zealand (DANZ) which engages in regular "inter-parliamentary meetings" with Australia's federal Parliament and discusses issues of common interest.
In addition to formal dialogues and agreements, the EU and Australia have engaged on a more informal cooperation track through the EU-Australia Leadership Forum. This is unique platform (funded by the EU) has enabled European and Australian leaders in politics, business, media and civil society to meet and discuss new ideas for the relationship. Emerging and Senior Leaders Forums took place in Sydney in June 2017 and Brussels in November 2018. The project ends in 2019 but the alumni network will continue to be active.