Australia’s Relationship with the European Union: From Conflict to Cooperation
After decades of tension, Australia and the European Union (EU) now have a substantive relationship, interacting and cooperating with each other within a wide range of areas. The relationship is currently at a critical turning point. The Framework Agreement has, for the first time, elevated the relationship to a treaty level. It strengthens Australia–EU actions and interests on bilateral, regional and multilateral issues. There is considerable potential for closer cooperation and more extensive pooling of the resources and capacities of both interlocutors on a range of policies and within the multilateral context. This article provides an assessment of the relationship, the current state of play and key challenges facing the relationship as the EU and Australia forge stronger ties through the conclusion of a Framework Agreement and the commencement of discussions on a Free Trade Agreement at the same time as the UK’s exit negotiations from the EU. It demonstrates that, although there are challenges facing the relationship, there are also significant opportunities to further develop and strengthen ties.