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Rebordering Britain & Britons after Brexit

From the Common Agricultural Policy to the Eurozone Crisis: Bilateral Disputes in the Australia–EU Relationship


Australia has historically focused on areas of disagreement with the European Union (EU) at the expense of establishing a more broad-based relationship. These areas of disagreement are the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), historically, and, to a lesser extent, the eurozone crisis. Criticism of the EU indicated the historical tendency of Australian governments to frame Europe as an actor behaving contrary to Australian interests. Australia’s historical antagonism towards the EU, however, runs counter to the current state of bilateral relations which are no longer focused on issues of disagreement. Evidence of this development is the recent completion of the treaty-level Framework Agreement in 2016 and the opening of free trade agreement negotiations in 2018. The Framework Agreement indicates Australia’s increased acknowledgement of the shared interests with the EU in areas such as foreign and security policy, trade, aid delivery, research and innovation, education and migration. Furthermore, a notable development has been that the EU is becoming an increasingly important interlocutor on issues relevant to Australian interests in the Asia-Pacific region. This article argues that although issues such as the CAP and the eurozone crisis still receive publicity they are not indicative of a bilateral relationship based on substantive broad-based cooperation.

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Round Table


Edward Yencken (Australia)

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