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A team of Australian officials will meet EU counterparts in Brussels from 1-5 July for the fourth round of negotiations towards an ambitious and comprehensive EU-Australia Free Trade Agreement (FTA). Previous rounds, led by the EU's Helena König and Australia's Alison Burrows, delivered good progress. The third round of negotiations, 25-29 March in Canberra, involved 16 working groups covering most areas of the FTA. These discussions showed "a shared commitment to negotiate an ambitious and comprehensive agreement," the DG Trade report reads. A critical next step is for Australia to publish the EU's Geographical Indications list to enable the first exchange of market access offers. Future rounds are scheduled for 14-18 October in Canberra and 9-13 December in Brussels.
The EU's system of identifying and protecting food products based on origin - Geographical Indications - is a driver of rural jobs and sustainable growth. Australia is considering extending the protection of European food and spirit product names to its own market as part of the FTA. Australia could also expand the geographical indications system already in place for wine to its own products. The EU Delegation to Australia is discussing the benefits of GIs with local food producers, business and government around the country.
Developing the full potential of the EU-Australia relationship is the focus of the second EU-Australia Joint Committee meeting on 24 June in Brussels. The committee will guide the implementation of the EU-Australia Framework Agreement which facilitates bilateral cooperation in trade, security, connectivity and infrastructure, development, research and consular cooperation. Slovenia and Belgium are the latest EU Member States to ratify the agreement, read more. Another linked development is the deployment of an Australian humanitarian expert to the EU-led mission in Iraq. More in the news section below.
Ever wanted to explore an embassy and learn more about diplomatic relations from the inside? The EU Delegation to Australia, together with several EU Member State embassies, will be open to the public on 12 October. The theme, Travel and Study in Europe, is an opportunity to discover more about Europe as a top destination. Windows to the World coincides with Canberra's flower festival Floriade, which attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. It was previously held in 2013 to celebrate the ACT’s Centenary and in 2015 with a focus on climate action.
Applications for the 2019 EU-Qantas Journalist Award are now open. In its 27th year, the award is open to Australian-based journalists with more than three years' experience working in Australian print, television or digital media. Courtesy of Qantas, the winner will travel business class to Europe where they will undertake a ten-day working visit to the European institutions, and up to three EU Member States, to research and report upon their proposed topic covering European themes of interest to an Australian audience. More information here.
Space, earth observation, medical advancements and artificial intelligence will be discussed at the 15th Australia-European Commission Joint Science and Technology Coordination Committee meeting in Canberra on 23 July. Director-General for Research and Innovation Jean-Eric Paquet will co-chair the meeting with a senior official from Australia's Department of Industry, Innovation and Science. Participants will discuss innovations, collaboration and future priorities.
Fellowships: Horizon 2020 physics research
Australian physicists interested in researching experimental particle or astroparticle physics, experimental nuclear physics, theoretical physics or technological research can apply for EU-funded research scholarships at the Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare in Italy. Applications close on 16 July. More information here.
Open call: Health and medical research
Health and medical scientists in Australia can join high-calibre research teams in Europe thanks to a new initiative funded by the European Research Council. Applications are open to researchers funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council, Australia’s leading government investor in the field. More information here.
Webinar: ICT collaboration
Are you a researcher in field of information and communication technology? Are you based in Australia or Europe? Would you like to take part in EU-Australia projects? Join an expert panel for the 'What's up Downunder - Opportunities for ICT research collaboration with Australia' webinar on 19 June at 15:30 AEST. The webinar is organised by EPIC, Europe's ICT Innovation Partnership with Australia, Singapore and New Zealand. More information here.
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European Parliament elections
Introducing the new European Parliament elected to represent the interests of EU citizens for the next five years. Voting took place across Europe and beyond, including in Australia from May 23-26. With about 374 million people eligible to vote, the elections are the second largest democratic contest in the world after India. At 51%, voter turnout was the highest for 20 years, bucking decades of decline. The European Parliament is the only directly-elected transnational parliament in the world.
EU Ambassador Michael Pulch and Romanian Ambassador Nineta Bărbulescu on the ABC News Breakfast couch.
In the lead-up to the election, the EU Delegation to Australia undertook a public information campaign encouraging EU-MS citizens in Australia to vote. Following the election Ambassador Michael Pulch joined former NSW premier Nick Greiner, POLITICO Europe's Zoya Sheftalovich, University of Sydney's Simon Tormey and the Financial Times' Jamie Smyth for the European Election Forum on 3 June in Sydney. The high-level panel discussion, organised by the European Australian Business Council and Italian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, covered implications for the FTA negotiations and a 'no deal' Brexit.
Australian joins EU-led humanitarian mission in Iraq
The Australian government has deployed a humanitarian expert to the EU's Advisory Mission in Iraq (EUAM Iraq). It is the first time an Australian has been deployed to an EU-led humanitarian mission. Australia's Foreign Minister Marise Payne said “the deployment underlines Australia's internationally recognised expertise in humanitarian capacity building.” Thanking Australia for its contribution, the EUAM wished the new colleague “the best for a successful and rewarding experience in Baghdad, working together for the common goal of a more stable and prosperous Iraq." Read more.
Boosting the FTA at the G20
"The EU-Australia Free Trade Agreement will give farmers and businesses greater export opportunities," tweeted Australia's Trade Minister Simon Birmingham following a meeting with EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström in Japan ahead of the 2019 G20 Osaka summit from 28-29 June.
Keeping track for the European Space Agency
From 1 June, Australia's national science agency, CSIRO, began providing maintenance and support to European Space Agency's (ESA) all important deep space tracking station at New Norcia, 130 km north-east of Perth, Western Australia. The facility includes a 35m telescope which provides crucial coverage of lift-offs from the ESA space facility in French Guiana. It also beamed in the first images of Europe's joint mission to Mercury BepiColumbo in October 2018. Read more on the CSIROscope blog.
Closer Ties: A game-changing year for EU-Australia relations
From agriculture and aquaculture to greater cooperation in Antarctica, the EU-Australia FTA is paving the way for new market opportunities in Tasmania. EU Ambassador Michael Pulch covered this topic and many more when he delivered the 10th Anniversary Sir James Plimsoll Lecture at the University of Tasmania on 21 May. Watch here.
EU-funded scientists unveil first ever image of a black hole
Deep in a galaxy called Messier 87, 55 million light-years away from Earth and several billion times more massive than the Sun is a real black hole. The incredible image was captured through the Event Horizon Telescope, an EU-funded project linking observatories across the globe and 200+ researchers in Europe, the US and East Asia. EU-funded scientists Heino Falcke, Luciano Rezzolla and Michael Kramer helped lead the team who made this ground breaking astronomical discovery which supports Einstein's theory of gravity and general relativity. Read more.
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Climate Diplomacy Week: VeloMai
To help promote climate action and the health benefits of cycling, the EU Delegation to Australia organised the VeloMai 14km bike ride around Canberra's lake Burley Griffin on 24 May. The cycling challenge kicked-off Climate Diplomacy Weeks, an EU initiative shining the spotlight on positive global collaboration to address climate change. EU Ambassador to Australia Michael Pulch joined ambassadors from Austria, Bernhard Zimburg, Germany, Anna Prinz, Poland, Michał Kołodziejski, Estonia, Andres Unga and UK High Commissioner Victoria Treadell as well as colleagues from the European diplomatic community, local government and Pedal Power ACT, a local organisation that aims to get more Canberrans cycling, more often. See how other EU Delegations around the world celebrated Climate Diplomacy Weeks here.
The EU-led Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy initiative is the largest global coalition of cities transitioning to a climate resilient economy. Many Australian cities including Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne, Byron Bay and Newcastle, just to name a few, are taking part. EU Ambassador Michael Pulch joined Denmark’s Ambassador Tom Nørring, climate action leaders and representatives from cities, towns, regions for the second Mayors4Climate Roundtable in Canberra on 6 June.
Europe Day celebrations in Canberra
"We have the wind in our sails for stronger EU-Australia relations," EU Ambassador Michael Pulch told 150+ dignitaries and guests from Europe, Australia and beyond gathered at the Yacht Club to celebrate Europe Day on 9 May. As well as celebrating peace and prosperity in Europe, the event shone a spotlight on EU achievements and innovations including the Copernicus Emergency Management System activated by Australian authorities during the recent Townsville floods and twin cyclones. The European Investment Bank featured a special exhibition of its projects in the Pacific. Celebrations continued into the evening with the lighting of Canberra's iconic landmark, Telstra Tower, in EU blue and gold. Read more.
Consuls-General and Honorary Consuls-General based in Sydney representing 12 EU Member States held a special Europe Day celebration at Parliament House on 16 May. It was the first time the diplomatic group, representing Czechia, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Malta, the Netherlands, Romania Spain and Slovenia, have come together to mark Europe Day in Australia's iconic city. Read more.
Marking 15 years of enlargement
The 2004 Enlargement welcomed ten new Member States - Cyprus, Czechia, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia - to the European Union. To mark the 15th anniversary, EU Ambassador Michael Pulch joined the Czech Ambassador Tomáš Dub and colleagues from the EU Member States in planting a symbolic Linden tree at the Czech Embassy in Canberra on 1 May.
World Bee Day festivities
There has been a significant buzz zzz zzz at the Embassy of Slovenia in Canberra. The embassy installed a special hand-painted beehive ahead of international World Bee Day on 20 May, which marks the birthday of the pioneer of modern beekeeping Anton Janša. “Some would say that he was to beekeeping what Newton was to gravity” said Slovenia's Ambassador Jurij Rifelj. The Slovenian Embassy teamed up with the embassies of Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Norway, Slovenia, Sweden, and Switzerland to put on a 'sweet' program of events in Canberra to mark World Bee Day on Sunday 19 May. More: European Citizens' Initiative: Commission registers ‘Save the bees!' initiative'
Eureka Europa crowned 2019 EU quiz masters
Where was the € sign designed? Which European country has more cars than people? Where are goose barnacles considered a delicacy? Some tough questions at the charity quiz night on 2 May in Canberra. Eureka Europa were the overall 2019 quiz masters. Team Two aptly took 2nd place followed by Never Gonna Give EU Up. The event raised more than $2000 for local charity Pegasus Riding for the Disabled ACT which helps children with disabilities enjoy the benefits of horse riding. More photos on the @EUAustralia facebook page.
EU - Australian Film and Television Radio School award
Yulubidyi 'Until the End' the EU Delegation to Australia award-winning film co-directed by Nathan Mewett and Curtis Taylor featured at the International Film Festival in Innsbruck Austria (28 May-2 June). The short film is about a young Aboriginal man Jarman tasked with protecting his younger disabled brother from life in a harsh remote community. Running since 2003, the EU-AFTARS sends filmakers to Europe to take part in prestigious film festivals. Previous winners have travelled to Vienna, Ghent, Marseilles, Brussels, Helsinki, Bucharest, Krakow, Cyprus, Croatia, Spain and Slovenia.
EU-Macquarie University language award
Did you know there are 24 official EU languages? James Adonopoulos is studying two: Greek and Spanish and is excelling in both. James has been awarded the language prize for students of European-language at Macquarie University. The EU Delegation to Australia supports many academic prizes and welcomes more partnerships with Australian universities and high-schools promoting EU languages. E. Tracy.DENNIS@eeas.europa.eu for more information.
EU Village hamper winners
Meet the lucky winners who have visited the EU Delegation in Canberra over the past few months to collect thier hampers packed full of goodies from across Europe.
This is Mia, she is six. Mia won the children's hamper by coulouring in a flag at the EU Village at the 2019 National Multicultural Festival in Canberra.
Christie Margrave recently moved to Canberra from the United Kingdom to teach French at the Australian National University. The EU Village was the perfect introduction to Canberra for her and her parents who were visiting. They even picked up some extra 'EU Passports' fto share with family and friends back home.
Alan de Zilva is of Portugese background. Always looking for the perfect occasion to wear his EU tie, Alan says the EU village is the perfect place to explore new European travel destinations. Alan and Christie won their hampers by signing up to the @EUinAus Update.
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