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The European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, and Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Hon. Julie Bishop MP, today launched the EU‑Australia Leadership Forum at the headquarters of the European External Action Service in Brussels.
The Leadership Forum will provide a platform for leaders, senior and emerging, from the fields of business, media, non-governmental organisations, civil society, think tanks, politics and academia from both countries to collaborate on new ideas to promote and deepen the relationship between the European Union and Australia.
"Our relationship with Australia already benefits from high levels of cooperation, as you would expect from close partners", said the High Representative/Vice-President, Federica Mogherini ahead of the launch. "I am hopeful that the Leadership Forum will help to bring together creative minds, of all ages and of all backgrounds, to take our cooperation still further", she added.
"The Leadership Forum will encourage senior and emerging leaders across industries in Australia and the European Union to work together on ideas to further strengthen the Australia-EU relationship and promote close collaboration on addressing global challenges”, the Australian Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop said.
The Leadership Forum will be composed of an EU-Australia Senior Leaders’ Forum, and an EU-Australia Emerging Leaders Forum, held back to back annually, alternately in Australia and in Europe, with the inaugural event to be hosted in Australia in the first half of 2017, and regular sectoral policy workshops covering topics including security, counter terrorism, trade, education, innovation, migration and development.
The launch of the Leadership Forum reflects the overall strengthening of relations between the European Union and Australia. Recent progress on an EU-Australia Framework Agreement, the joint scoping for a free trade agreement and now the Leadership Forum are exciting developments enhancing an already strong relationship. The High Representative also looked forward to welcoming Ms Bishop to Brussels on 4-5 October for the Brussels Conference on Afghanistan.
The relationship between the European Union and Australia is based on shared values and a common commitment to the rule of law, global norms and support for international stability and security. In confronting the challenges posed by terrorism, Australia is pleased to join the EU and the Philippines in chairing an ASEAN Regional Forum workshop on countering violent extremism in early 2017 demonstrating the work the EU and Australia can do together in the area of security.