On 7 July, the European Union (EU) and New Zealand held the first session of their annual Joint Committee at senior officials’ level. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the meeting was held by video conference.
As strong supporters of promoting and protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms around the world, the European Union and New Zealand have decided to relaunch the EU-New Zealand Human Rights consultations. At a time when of democracy, human rights and the rule of law are threatened around the world, the EU and New Zealand have agreed to step up their cooperation in defence of these shared values. The Joint Committee also presented an opportunity to take stock of the EU-New Zealand partnership and to identify key areas for enhanced cooperation in the next 12 months.
The EU and New Zealand have a close and wide-ranging relationship, based on shared history, strong personal and trade connections and a like-mindedness on international issues. They share a deep commitment to democracy, the rule of law, respect for human rights, and are committed to upholding the rules-based international order and to ensuring that multilateralism is effective.
The EU and New Zealand agreed that these shared values must continue to underpin EU-New Zealand cooperation in their approaches to addressing the global challenges of today, including in the domain of public health. Acknowledging international cooperation and solidarity as essential, the Senior Officials agreed on the importance of joint work to address the COVID-19 pandemic, its socio-economic consequences, and on the research and development of vaccines and treatments to be made available, accessible and affordable for all.
The EU delegation was led by Ms Paola Pampaloni, Deputy Managing Director of the Asia and Pacific Department of the European External Action Service. The New Zealand delegation was led by Mr Rob Taylor, Acting Deputy Secretary Europe, Middle East, Africa and Australia Group of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.