European Union External Action

Your @EUinAus Update - Q3 - 2019.

01/10/2019 - 01:59
EU Delegation to Australia - Newsletter

Welcome to the quarterly update of news, views and activities from across the @EUinAus community. It may have been the European summer but we didn't slow down. In Brussels, a new team has been nominated to represent the European Commission from 2019-2024. And a group of Australian business, education and industry leaders met (current) European Commissioners. In Melbourne, former U.S. Department of State Secretary John Kerry visited the European Union (EU) Delegation at the Global Food summit to learn more about Geographical Indications. ABC journalist Brett Worthington published a comprehensive and engaging news feature on the same topic, based on his first-hand account of the EU system in Greece and Italy. A new series of stories shines a spotlight on Europe-Australia scientific collaboration and European Ambassadors and High Commissioners in Australia helped to shine a spotlight on climate action. To enjoy all the pictures view the newsletter through your browser.



Trade Talks: Fifth round of FTA negotiations

A team of EU officials will meet their Australian counterparts in Canberra from 14-18 October for the fifth round of negotiations towards the EU-Australia Free Trade Agreement (FTA). Following the publication by Australia of the EU's Geographical Indications list in August, both sides have now exchanged initial market access offers for goods ahead of the next round. Catch up on progress in the latest EU Trade report.

Windows to the World: Embassy Open Days

Ever wanted to explore an embassy and learn more about diplomatic relations from the inside? The EU Delegation to Australia is opening its doors to the public on Saturday 12 October. You can take a seat around the official table where top European diplomats regularly meet and explore more about Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Malta (High Commission), Poland and the Slovak Republic whose embassies will host their own marquees around the grounds. Visit the nearby embassies of Belgium, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Spain and Sweden which are also open on Saturday. The embassies of Romania and the Slovak Republic will be open on Sunday 13 October. More info.

European envoys head north

Ambassadors and High Commissioners will travel to Brisbane and Bundaberg in Queensland from 9-11 October to discuss policy, trade, innovation and investment. They will meet with Premier (and Trade Minister) Annastacia Palaszczuk, Bundaberg Mayor Jack Dempsey among others. 

EuroScience Week @ Questacon 

Space exploration, satellites and superheroes of science! Ground breaking European scientific achievements of the past and present will be showcased during EuroScience Week @ Canberra's Questacon, from 7-13 October. See highlights of the week-long school holiday program here

Design Canberra

The national capital will be transformed into a global city of design during November. The EU Delegation to Australia is a partner of the Design Canberra Festival that showcases hundreds of events, exhibitions, talks, tours and activities. A festival highlight will be the 250 cubic meter deflating artwork MEDUSA by acclaimed European-based artists Plastique Fantastique on 16-17 November.

Da Vinci Talks

To mark the 500th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci’s death, and to coincide with the Louvre’s blockbuster exhibition about the artist, a series of public talks will be held on the topics of Da Vinci, Notre-Dame and Renaissance Men (Da Vinci, Michelangelo and Raphael) in Sydney from 26-28 November. The EU Delegation to Australia is a proud partner of the series. More info.

Eurostars to compete at Dragons Abreast Regatta


How many nationalities can you fit in a dragon boat? 20 paddlers from the European diplomatic community will come together at Canberra's lakeside on Saturday 9 November to compete in the regatta in support of breast cancer research. Come and cheer on the Eurostars! 



The von der Leyen Commission: for a Union that strives for more

President-elect Ursula von der Leyen has unveiled her new team, nominated to represent the European Commission 2019-2024. Josep Borrell (from Spain) is High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President (HR/VP) designate. Phil Hogan (from Ireland), incumbent Agriculture Commissioner, has been appointed the Trade portfolio, an important role in the context of the EU-Australia FTA negotiations.  

Climate action, digitalisation and demography will be a focus of the new Commission, which will have eight Vice-Presidents (VPs) including three Executive Vice-Presidents: Frans Timmermans (from the Netherlands) Climate Action, Margrethe Vestager (from Denmark) Competition and Valdis Dombrovskis (from Latvia) Financial Services. The additional five VPs are Josep Borrell, Věra Jourová (from Czechia), Margaritis Schinas (from Greece), Maroš Šefčovič (from Slovakia) and Dubravka Šuica (from Croatia).

Podcast: Big Ideas explores the deepening EU-Australia relationship


The EU is Australia's second largest trading partner and the EU-Australia FTA, under negotiation, is set to deliver further wins for business and consumers alike. Beyond trade, the EU and Australia share an interest in promoting rules-based international order and regional security. ABC Radio National’s Big Ideas program presents the panel discussion recorded 20 August at the University of Melbourne. Listen here.

Boosting EU-Australia business ties in Brussels

Developing trade and economic ties was high on the agenda when a delegation of Australian business, education and industry leaders visited the European Commission in Brussels, part of their European tour of political and commercial capitals. EU Ambassador to Australia Michael Pulch and Australia's Ambassador to the EU Justin Brown joined the European Australian Business Council (EABC) delegation on Wednesday 26 June for meetings with Vice President Jyrki Katainen, Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan, Business Europe Director Dr Markus Beyrer and DG Trade's Chief Negotiator for the EU-Australia FTA Helena König, among others. Read more

Coming up! Joint Annual Forum, 14 November: EABC and the EU Delegation to Australia will host European economic counsellors together with European Chambers of Commerce in Australia.

EU charts new ground in global connectivity - looks to boost strategic ties with Asia

Building on the close cooperation between the EU and its Asia-Pacific partners, the first Europa Connectivity Forum was held on 27 September. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe opened the high-level event. See the full list of speakers here.





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EU Climate Diplomacy Weeks: Going green near Goulburn

Did you know Veolia's Woodlawn bioreactor facility in Tarago, NSW can turn 240,000 tonnes of waste into an organic material annually? European Ambassadors and High Commissioners to Australia were joined by senior students from Canberra's Narrabundah College to visit the French company's impressive $100 million plant as part of Climate Diplomacy Weeks (24 September to 6 October), the EU initiative shining a spotlight on global actions to address climate change. See the pictures on the @EUAustralia facebook page.

EU takes the lead on climate action

“The new leadership of the European Commission has made it clear that fighting climate change is a top priority," says newly appointed EU Ambassador for the Pacific Sujiro Seam. He outlined the EU's priorities in the region, including development goals and strengthening political, economic, business and trade relationships during an interview with ABC Australia's 'The World’ program, which aired during his three-day visit to Canberra, September 24-26. Watch the full interview from the Parliament House studio here.

Sustainable Europe - Sustainable Future

Finland has put sustainability first during its six-month Presidency of the Council of the European Union, which began in July.  “We are particularly keen to work with the Commission on climate issues. We consider it vital for the European Union to speak with one voice in international climate negotiations and to reach unanimity on the goal of making the EU climate neutral by 2050,” Finnish Prime Minister Antti Rinne said. More info here.



European delicacies delight at Australia's largest agribusiness summit

Feta. Kalamata Olives. Ouzo. Have you tasted these world-famous Greek products? Former U.S. Department of State Secretary John Kerry has. He sampled some at the EU's information stand at Global Table: Feeding our Future, 3-6 September, Melbourne. The EU Delegation to Australia, together with eight EU Member States: Germany, Czechia, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Portugal and Spain took part in the Global Table summit which showcased the considerable benefits of gaining better access to Europe’s market of 500 million consumers. Read more

Exploring the benefits of Geographical Indications in Europe

Did you read ABC journalist Brett Worthington's feature on Geographical Indications published in July? The EU-Qantas Journalist Award winner travelled to Italy, Greece and the EU institutions in Brussels to explore the EU's system of labelling and protecting food based on origin. His web and radio feature was the ABC's second most popular story the weekend it was published (and remains on the home page today) reaching an audience of more than 500,000 in Australia and beyond! Read more.

Trade Minister Simon Birmingham wants EU-Australian FTA by end of 2020

See the television interview on Bloomberg here.

European cars could become cheaper in Australia

The EU wants to cut the cost of buying European-made cars in Australia as part of the negotiations towards the EU-Australia FTA. Read the Sydney Morning Herald report here (behind paywall).

The EU-Australia FTA low-down in Lobethal

“Brands are gold in this region,” says Jan Angas from Hutton Vale Farm, a 176 year-old family business specialising in Barossa Valley traditions: smokehouse, sausages and preserves. “We need a Geographical Indications system that has teeth and I am glad we have started the discussion.” The EU met with local producers in Lobethal, near Adelaide, on 12 September to discuss the benefits of Geographical Indications. It is one of a series of events the EU Delegation has held with local producers around the country to discuss the topic. More pictures on @EUAustralia facebook page.

EU-Mercosur trade deal: what it all means

Creating a market of 780 million people, the EU's trade deal with Mercosur (agreed to in principle) will save EU companies more than €4 billion. Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay & Uruguay are the latest countries to join the growing list of EU trade allies. Read more in the Financial Times news.  



Stories of European-Australian research

Hypersonic travel and pocket-sized satellites that study the thermosphere. Climate-resistant grapes and the world's largest radio telescope - the Square Kilometre Array. These are just some of the stories of Europe-Australia collaborations in science and research showcased in this new publication by Science in Public and the EU Delegation to Australia. Read more.

Australia mulls deeper science ties with EU

There’s an appetite to develop a stronger research relationship with Brussels, but agreeing terms is ‘a long-haul game’ says James Whisstock, scientific head of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory’s base in Australia. The molecular scientist, made the comments after meeting the European Commission’s Director-General for Research and Innovation Jean-Eric Paquet, during his visit to Australia in July. Read the Science Business articleSee highlights of the DG's visit on the @EUAustralia facebook page.

Europe and Australia set to explore new frontiers in space

A new 'Statement of Intent' between the European Space Agency (ESA) and Australian Space Agency aims to boost future cooperation in cutting edge scientific missions and Earth observation. Read more.  Meanwhile, Is there life on Mars? Scientists from the ESA and NASA have been searching the Pilbara in the Australian outback for clues. The space agencies will both launch expeditions in 2020 to learn more about the red planet's geology and if it was ever home to life. Watch the ABC report.

EU's satellite navigation system Galileo reaches 1 billion smartphone users

Galileo, the EU's global satellite navigation system, has reached 1 billion smartphone users worldwide. 95% of companies that produce smartphone chips for satellite navigation make chips that enable Galileo. It also provides a crucial Search and Rescue Service, reducing the time it takes to detect a person equipped with a distress beacon to less than ten minutes at sea, in mountains or deserts. Read more.

Australians among the 50+ nationalities who received 2019 European Research Council grants

More than 400 early-career researchers have been awarded ERC grants. The funding will help individual scientists and scholars to build their own teams and conduct pioneering research across all disciplines. The grants, worth in total €621 million, are part of the EU’s Research and Innovation programme Horizon 2020. Read more.


Celebrating European Languages

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz is written in both Spanish and English – Spanglish. Natalie Seif, a cultural studies student at the University of Queensland is exploring this language alternation (translanguaging) in her Honour's thesis. Natalie's work has been awarded the EU Australia language award. The EU Delegation to Australia supports many academic prizes and welcomes more partnerships with Australian universities and high-schools promoting European languages.  Email for more info.

European Day of Languages in Sydney

The EU National Institutes for Culture (EUNIC) in Australia hosted free European language classes and cultural activities at various venues around Sydney on Saturday 28 September. The initiative was led by Alliance Française, British Council, Goethe Institut, Instituto Cervantes and Italian Cultural Institute.

Macquarie University visit to EU Delegation & vice versa 

There were fruitful conversations and food for thought when Macquarie University Global Leadership Program students visited the EU Delegation in Canberra on 19 July. They exchanged views on EU-Australia relations in areas including trade, climate action, science, education and human rights. The visit was reciprocated when officials from the EU Delegation took part in the Foreign Affairs Series Macquarie University in Sydney on 26 September.