About the project

After decades of tension and conflict, Australia’s relationship with the European Union (EU) has reached a milestone. The new engagement is comprehensive, reflecting an Australian all-of-government commitment to work with the EU, its institutions and member states. As the multi-faceted Framework Agreement (FA) came into force in 2017, this treaty level relationship constitutes a priority engagement. It will strengthen EU-Australia actions and interests on bilateral, regional and multilateral issues. Yet significant challenges place the relationship at a critical juncture. Faced with Brexit, uncertainly about the United States’ international role, and increasing regional and global instability, Australia and the EU are seeking to enhance cooperation to tackle these challenges.

This project assesses relations between Australia and the EU and the opportunity for this engagement to further develop around a range of policies and forums. It will examine the dialogue and negotiation of key agreements, policy cooperation (including multilateral and regional cooperation, security, trade, refugee flows) especially within the Asia-Pacific/Indo Pacific. It will assess the implications of the FA and the commencement of negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement as well as their progress.

This project will present new paradigms for advancing the relationship, including collaboration on issue-based leadership within multilateral and plurilateral forums such as the WTO, the Asia Europe Meeting and G20. The steps already taken towards a more comprehensive relationship have been significant. The distance that has been traversed from misunderstanding to the current engagement suggests that steady engagement, socialisation, political will and an incrementalist approach can all bear fruit.

The project will be conducted by Professor Philomena Murray (Jean Monnet Chair ad personam) and Dr Margherita Matera, both from the School of Social and Political Sciences, Faculty of Arts at The University of Melbourne.

The project is funded by the European Union under the Eramus+ Programme - Jean Monnet Activities (587060-EPP-1-2017-EU-EPPJMO-PROJECT) and The University of Melbourne.

Co-funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union