European Union External Action


EU-New Zealand relations

Bruxelles, 05/10/2016 - 15:51, UNIQUE ID: 161005_11

The European Union and New Zealand are like-minded partners, sharing the same view and approach on many global issues. Both support democracy, the rule of law and human rights and are active players in multilateral organisations such as the United Nations and the World Trade Organisation (WTO). They also have shared interests in tackling key global challenges such as climate change, sustainable development, and preserving the environment, but also humanitarian aid and the fight against terrorism.

The first political statement of cooperation between the European Union and New Zealand dates back to 1999, with signing of the Joint Declaration on Relations between the European Union and New Zealand. This was replaced in 2007 by the Joint Declaration on Relations and Cooperation, an updated political declaration. The Declaration set out a detailed action programme for the European Union and New Zealand in areas such as global and regional security, counter-terrorism and human rights, development and economic cooperation, trade, climate change as well as science and technology. The Joint Declaration also underlined the importance of closer co-operation to further facilitate people-to-people links and to encourage exchanges in higher education: Joint Declaration pdf - 2 MB.

On 5 October 2016, the EU High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy / Vice-President of the European Commission, Federica Mogherini and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of New Zealand, Murray McCully, signed the Partnership Agreement on Relations and Cooperation[1] (PARC). The PARC will provide a comprehensive and modern legal foundation for EU-New Zealand relations. It will facilitate more effective bilateral engagement on the part of the EU and its Member States with New Zealand, by strengthening political dialogue and improving cooperation on economic and trade matters and in a wide range of other areas, from innovation, education and culture, to migration, counter terrorism, the fight against organised crime and cybercrime and judicial cooperation.

Formal diplomatic representation of the European Union in New Zealand can be traced back to 1984 when the European Union's Delegation in Canberra was accredited to New Zealand. Following an invitation by the New Zealand Government, the EU opened an office in Wellington in May 2004. In September 2016, the first resident EU Ambassador to New Zealand took office, marking the transition to a fully-fledged and autonomous European Union Delegation.

In November 2015, the EU Delegation opened a satellite facility - Europe House - in the heart of Auckland, New Zealand's financial and business centre. This first-of-its-kind initiative is the product of a unique partnership with Auckland University of Technology (AUT). It provides state of the art conference and event facilities to the European Union Member States' embassies, as well as to cultural and business associations.

In September 2016, Europe Lane was inaugurated in Wellington's central business district. This was the result of a decision by the City of Wellington to name a lane after Europe, symbolically highlighting the ever closer ties between the European Union and New Zealand.

An Administrative Agreement was agreed in 2012, establishing a diplomatic exchange of personnel program enabling a better understanding of each other's policies and facilitation of collaboration in key strategic areas.


Foreign and Security Policy and Development Policy Cooperation

The European Union and New Zealand cooperate closely on foreign and security issues and engage in a regular political/security dialogue, including frequent consultations at ministerial and senior officials' levels.

A Framework Participation Agreement (FPA) was signed in April 2012, enabling New Zealand to take part in EU crisis management operations. Following the signature, New Zealand contributed to EUNAVFOR Atalanta (to combat piracy in the Horn of Africa). In the past, New Zealand participated in EUFOR Althea in Bosna i Herzegovina. From 2007 until end of 2012, it contributed significantly to EUPOL mission in Afghanistan.

On major global issues the European Union and New Zealand are fully aligned and there is close cooperation, notably on Ukraine, Russia, Syria and the Middle East Peace Process, as well as on African affairs at the UN level.

The European Union and New Zealand are also like-minded partners on international human rights issues such as the abolition of the death penalty, and they are both strong supporters of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The EU and New Zealand are working closely together with the aim of promoting peace, stability and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region. For example, the EU has cooperated closely with New Zealand in the Multinational Observers Group, during the general elections in Fiji in 2014, and continues to be engaged in jointly promoting the consolidation of democracy in Fiji.

Both the EU and New Zealand have a shared interest in maintaining strong relationships with the countries of the Pacific. The EU has a trilateral dialogue on Pacific issues in place, together with Australia and New Zealand. Additionally New Zealand and the EU cooperate in the Pacific Islands Forum, with the EU being a Post-Forum Dialogue Partner.

Regionally, both New Zealand and the EU are engaged in South East Asia through ASEAN, ARF and ASEM


Development Cooperation

The European Union is the largest development aid donor in the world and an active player in the neighbourhood of New Zealand, being the second largest donor in the Pacific region.

In March 2013, EU and New Zealand co-hosted the Pacific Energy Summit in Auckland, where a total of €410 million was pledged for energy projects in the Pacific Island
countries.  There, they pledged to step up cooperation on sustainable energy, working together via the EU-New Zealand Pacific Energy Partnership, with other regional partners and in line with the United Nations’ Sustainable Energy for All initiative. To this end, the EU and New Zealand signed a Declaration of Cooperation undertaking to maximise the number of energy projects implemented in parallel.

On 7 June 2016, the EU and New Zealand co-hosted the 2016 Pacific Energy Conference in Auckland, which saw another NZ$ 1 billion pledged for development projects in the Pacific, including contributions from private sector. At the Conference, the EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Mimica and NZ Foreign Minister McCully, signed a Joint Declaration of Cooperation on a Pacific Partnership for Sustainable Development. It signals EU and New Zealand's commitment to expand the scope of their close cooperation on renewable energy to benefit, among others, Tonga, Niue and Northern Pacific, countries not previously covered. Furthermore, the Joint Declaration paved the way for the future expansion of the partnership to other fields such as climate change and sustainable agriculture, starting with Vanuatu.


Trade and economic cooperation

The European Union and New Zealand have a mature bilateral trade and investment relationship as well as a shared commitment to a multilateral trade regime.

In 2015, the EU was ranked as New Zealand's third largest trading partner in goods (after Australia and China). New Zealand was ranked as the EU's 50th largest partner. In 2015, total trade in goods between the EU and New Zealand amounted to €8.1 billion. New Zealand's exports (€3.5 billion) to the EU are largely dominated by agricultural products, while EU's exports (€4.6 billion) to New Zealand are focused on manufactured goods. The total trade in services between the EU and New Zealand amounted to €3.5 billion (EU exports of €2.2 billion, and EU imports of €1.3 billion) in 2014.

The EU is the second largest source of foreign direct investment (FDI) in New Zealand and represents about 1/5 of total FDI in New Zealand. In 2014, the EU's FDI stock in New Zealand stood at €7.2 billion while and New Zealand FDI stock in the EU stood at €3.3 billion.

In October 2015, European Union Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker announced with Prime Minister Key the start of the process towards launching negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA). The European Commission is carrying out an impact assessment and engaged with New Zealand to better define the scope and ambition level of a potential future FTA (the so-called "scoping exercise").

Customs cooperation will be further strengthened by the new Customs Cooperation and Mutual Administrative Assistance Agreement to be signed and concluded in the coming months.


Sectorial cooperation

There are a number of policy areas where the EU and New Zealand work towards joint goals. These include inter alia education, fisheries and maritime affairs, transport, sustainable energy, or cultural cooperation.

The European Union and New Zealand have also negotiated a number of sectoral agreements designed to facilitate access to each other’s markets and reduce exporters’ costs. Notable examples include agreements on sanitary measures in live animals and animal products, horizontal air transport services, and on mutual recognition of conformity assessment. Senior officials' consultations on trade, agriculture, fisheries and maritime affairs and science & technology take place every year alternating between Brussels and Wellington. Consultations and information exchanges also take place in areas such as development assistance, humanitarian aid, and on climate change the EU and NZ cooperate well internationally and share experience of domestic policy issues.   

The European Union and New Zealand cooperate in a wide variety of multilateral bodies dealing with fisheries and ocean governance, where both New Zealand and the European Union are members. Both countries are also working together towards strengthening environmental and ocean governance, necessary to achieve the conservation and the sustainable use of resources, with a particular view to biodiversity, oceans and water issues.

The European Union and New Zealand build up a strong relationship in research, science and technology guided by the Scientific and Technological Cooperation Agreement entered into force in January 2009. The two parties decided to define a more strategic vision of their Research and Innovation collaboration and already started to explore future partnership in domains of excellence such as precision agriculture and big data.

2016 has seen four universities in New Zealand as partners in successful research and innovation staff exchanges.

The New Zealand European Union Centres Network (EUCN) was established in 2006. It is a network of seven universities in New Zealand that aims to combine the three elements of research, teaching and outreach under a unique thematic umbrella focused on the impact, role and understanding of the European Union within New Zealand and the wider Pacific region.

Starting from 2004 the Jean Monnet Activities co-fund an academic Centre of Excellence hosted by the University of Canterbury. Currently, and until 2018, the Centre for Excellence (EXCELLNZ) will extend cooperation to all eight universities in New Zealand giving greater visibility to EU studies. The key themes are: encouraging engagement of civil society with the EU; nurturing early career researchers on European Union studies; and teaching the EU outside Europe. EXCELLNZ will promote civil society engagement with the EU and European issues.


[1] The official version of the text will be published in the Official Journal of the EU
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